Closing arguments made at Rolf Harris indecent assault trial

Stephen Delahunty

Rolf Harris applies for permission to appeal against conviction for 12 indecent assaults

Rolf Harris' legal team said it is difficult to imagine a 'harder, further, deeper fall from grace' while presenting closing arguments at Southwark Crown Court earlier today.

The jury has heard three weeks of evidence at the trial, where the 86-year-old entertainer stands accused of seven counts of indecent assault, and one alternate charge of sexual assault spanning a period of 30 years beginning in 1971.

Harris, formerly of Bray, denies all of the allegations against him.

Addressing the jury, defence QC Stephen Vullo said: "The media have made Harris vulnerable to accusations."

He also stressed how important it is for the 12 jurors to make a decision based solely on the evidence.

Mr Vullo questioned the likelihood of several allegations going unnoticed and he said they allegedly took place 'sometimes just inches away from family and friends'.

Harris, wearing a blue suit with green shirt and red and blue tie, listened attentively with headphones in and was often slumped forward.

There were several members of family and friends in a busy public gallery.

Mr Vullo continued to go back through each count and asked the jury to consider whether they actually believe the alleged victims.

He challenged the prosecution question of 'why would the complainants lie?' and added not knowing why a person would make such an allegation is irrelevant.

Mr Vullo then went on to criticise Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into historic sex offences which led to Harris' initial indecent assault conviction in 2014, for giving 'fake victims' tactical advice about seeking compensation from his £11m fortune.

Mr Vullo finished by saying that 'each count falls below the standard of what's needed to convict'.

Summing up, Judge Alistair McCreath said: "It's for you and you alone to decide which witnesses have told the truth or not, and which have given reliable evidence."

He added: "If consistency points to truth and reliability, then it can argued that inconsistency points the other way."

Judge McCreath told the jury: "you must not make assumptions as to why complainants didn't come forward sooner.

"There is nothing wrong with someone claiming compensation who has been the victim of an assault."

Addressing Harris' decision not to testify, Judge McCreath said: "While entitled not to give evidence, there is no evidence from himself to explain."

He added: "The only verdict I can accept is one that is unanimously agreed."

The summing up is set to continue this afternoon before the jury retires to consider its verdict.

More from the trial:

Rolf Harris jury told of previous convictions as new indecent assault trial begins

Rolf Harris trial: Jury hears NSPCC phone call from alleged victim

Alleged victim told Rolf Harris to 'f**k off' after taxi incident, court hears

Rolf Harris makes first court appearance at indecent assault trial

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