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Rolf Harris, center, leaves amidst a group of people who accompanied him to his hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Rolf Harris, center, leaves amidst a group of people who accompanied him to his hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Rolf Harris denies child sex abuse charges in court appearance

In all but one of the four cases, the alleged victims were under 16, with one charge relating to a girl who was only seven or eight
Jan 14th 2014, 5:10 PM 9,138 0

ENTERTAINER ROLF HARRIS has denied a string of indecent assaults against young women and girls as he appeared today in a UK court.

The 83-year-old musician, presenter and artist, a familiar face on British television for decades, denied all 12 counts of indecent assault as he appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

Harris is due to go on trial on 30 April accused of assaulting four women between 1968 and 1986.

In all but one of the cases, the alleged victims were under 16, the age of sexual consent in Britain.

One charge relates to a girl who was only seven or eight at the time of the alleged assault.

The entertainer has yet to make a plea on four charges of making an indecent image of a child in 2012.

Wearing a blue jacket, white shirt and red tie, Harris stood in the dock and replied “not guilty” to each of the indecent assault charges as they were read to him.

He arrived at court pushing his wife Alwen in a wheelchair, accompanied by their daughter Bindi, and made no comment to the scrum of waiting reporters as he left.

Harris was released on bail on condition that he does not contact prosecution witnesses, lives at his home address in the village of Bray in Berkshire, west of London, and does not spend time with anyone under the age of 18 unless they are accompanied by someone over 21.

Harris, who moved to England in 1952, has been honoured by both Britain and Australia.

imageRolf Harris pushes his wife Alwen in a wheelchair, as he leaves Southwark Crown Court. (Pic: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire)

Queen Elizabeth II sat for a portrait by him in 2005 to mark her 80th birthday, while as a singer he topped the Australian charts in 1960 with ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’ and the British charts in 1969 with ‘Two Little Boys’.

He is one of several older celebrities in Britain arrested under Operation Yewtree, the police probe into historical abuse set up in the wake of revelations that the late BBC star Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender.

The trial of another of the so-called “Yewtree arrests”, veteran British DJ Dave Lee Travis, got under way today.

Prosecutors told the jury that the 68-year-old former BBC star, one of the biggest names in British broadcasting during the 1970s and 1980s, sexually assaulted young women while live on television and in his radio studio.

Travis denies assaulting 11 women.

© – AFP 2014

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