23 Sep 2013

Rolf Harris appears in court on sex offence charges

Veteran presenter Rolf Harris appears in court to answer charges of alleged indecent assault against two teenagers.

The 83-year-old’s lawyer indicated he will plead not guilty to nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of a child.

Mr Harris was accompanied to Westminster magistrates’ court, in London, by wife Alwen.

He spoke only to confirm his name, his address in Bray, Berkshire, and his date of birth.

The case will next be heard at Southwark crown court on 7 October.

Mr Harris walked slowly from the court building with his wife, who was using a walking stick, as police pushed back a tightly packed crowd of photographers and cameramen.

The couple struggled for room to get into their waiting silver Chrysler as they left.

Supporters who came to court with him then left in a silver Volkswagen people carrier.

Operation Yewtree

The Australian artist, musician and television presenter is accused of assaulting two alleged victims, who were aged 14 and 15 at the time, between 1980 and 1986.

Sonia Woodley QC, representing Mr Harris, told the court his indicated pleas would be not guilty.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: “Clearly my powers are insufficient in this case and this matter will be going to the crown court.”

Mr Harris was released on bail on the conditions that he does not contact prosecution witnesses, lives at his home address in Bray and does not spend time with anyone under the age of 18 without being accompanied by someone over 21.

The 83-year-old was arrested by officers working on Operation Yewtree, the national investigation launched after abuse claims were made against Jimmy Savile, but the allegations against him have no connection to Savile.