Harris faces up to 24 years jail

Rolf Harris faces jail after being found guilty of 12 charges of indecent assault in a London court overnight.

The jury of six men and six women took eight days to find the 84-year-old entertainer guilty of all the charges against him, including seven charges relating to his daughter Bindi's childhood best friend.

The woman, who cannot be named, had accused Harris of assaulting her repeatedly from age 13.

Harris was bailed until Friday, when he is expected to be sentenced.

Harris faces two years jail on each count. A medical report will be prepared on the state of Harris' health because of his age.

Seven of the charges were brought by Bindi Harris' childhood best friend.

The British woman, now 49, had been known to Harris from the age of two and alleged he first indecently assaulted her on a holiday to Hawaii and Australia in 1978 when she was 13.

Harris was not charged over the allegation, or those said to have happened a few weeks later at the Harris family's Australian home in Bassendean, because they did not happen on British soil.

The prosecution had claimed he had groomed his victim for loveless, opportunistic, "gynaecological" sex, which continued for 16 years.

The jury clearly did not buy Harris' assurances that the sexual relationship had begun from a place of "love and friendship" after the woman turned 18.

He was found guilty of two charges of digitally penetrating the girl at her home in south London about 1980 when she was 15, and another two instances of digital penetration at his home in Bray in the same year.

He was also found guilty of two further counts of performing oral sex on the girl, including once while Bindi was in the same room.

The jury found him guilty of groping the woman's breasts in the swimming pool of the Harris family's home at Bray about 1984 when she was 19.

Harris faced three counts of indecent assault relating to 43-year-old Australian woman Tonya Lee, who claimed Harris assaulted her in a London pub in 1986 when as a 14-year-old, she was part of a youth theatre company touring Britain.

She claims Harris touched her between the legs while she sat on his lap during dinner, then grabbed her breasts and digitally penetrated her outside the toilets.

He was found guilty on all three counts.

He was also found guilty of touching the bottom and "between the legs" of a seven or eight-year-old autograph hunter at a community centre near Portsmouth in 1969.

Harris claimed he had never been at the community centre. One of the key turning points of the six-week trial was the surprise emergence of a video that showed Harris in Cambridge in 1978.

He claimed that he had never been to the university city until about 2010 and could not possibly have "groped and squeezed" the bottom of a 14-year-old waitress there in the 1970s.

The footage, of a television show called Star Games, was recorded three years later than the initial claim that the incident took place in 1975 but the jury was convinced of Harris' guilt.

Harris' family, including wife Alwen and daughter Bindi, showed no emotion in court as the jury foreman read out guilty verdict after guilty verdict.

But in the waiting room outside Court 2, Bindi Harris broke down in the arms of Harris' long-time publicist Jan Kennedy.

The jury took 37 hours and 35 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict.

Within minutes, Harris' crisis management team from Bell Pottinger announced that their client would not be talking to the press in Britain or Australia.


The West Australian

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