Police to charge Rolf Harris with indecent assault

AAP, The West Australian August 29, 2013, 11:03 pm

British prosecutors say they have authorised police to charge West Australian entertainer Rolf Harris with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of making indecent images of a child.

“We have concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of a child,” London’s chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders said in a statement on Thursday.

“The alleged indecent assaults date from 1980 to 1986 and relate to two complainants aged 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged offending.”

There are six charges of indecent assault relating to a girl aged between 15 and 16 from 1980 to 1981, three charges of indecent assault relating to a girl aged 14 in 1986, and four offences of making indecent images of a child between March and July 2012.

Mr Harris, 83, is due to appear at Westminster Magistrate's Court on September 23.

“We have determined there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest,” Ms Saunders said, adding that Mr Harris had a right to a fair trial.

Mr Harris was first questioned over allegations of sexual assault in late November 2012.

He was arrested in late March 2013 by officers from Operation Yewtree, which was established following the Jimmy Savile sex-abuse scandal.

At the beginning of August, he was rearrested after further allegations of sexual abuse.

A police file of evidence was then passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) just over a fortnight ago, on August 12.

Ms Saunders said on Thursday the CPS had carefully considered the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan police before concluding there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr Harris.

The Australian artist and singer has lived in Berkshire, west of London, for more than 50 years.

Millions of young people grew up to the sounds of his inimitable wobble board, didgeridoo and quirky singing style, while his catchphrase “Can you tell what is it yet?” became synonymous with his sketches that only became clear with the final strokes of his marker pen.

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