84-year-old Australian entertainer and ARIA Hall Of Fame inductee Rolf Harris has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against girls by a London jury. The assaults in questions were carried out by Harris in the UK between 1968 and 1986, and involved four girls.
As the ABC reports, the jury took eight days to deliver unanimous verdicts on each and every count of indecent assault, with each count carrying a maximum penalty of two years in jail. Harris will be sentenced on Friday, but has been granted bail until then.
Present at the verdict in the Southwark Crown Court was Harris’ legal team, as well as his wife Alwen, daughter Bindi and long-time agent Jan Kennedy. Justice Nigel Sweeney noted that Harris could expect to be given jail time.
“Given the conviction on all 12 counts, it’s inevitable that the type of sentence uppermost in the court’s mind is a custodial sentence,” judge Sweeney said. Harris’ legal team now have 28 days to lodge an appeal on his behalf.
Aside from the four complainants in the trial, six other women gave supporting evidence that Harris had abused them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta between 1969 and 1991.
Harris pleaded not guilty on all 12 counts of indecent assault in January this year, but was remanded on bail. Defence barrister Simon Ray told the court that Harris was “far from perfect”, given his two extramarital affairs, but said that this didn’t make Harris guilty of the indecent assault charges.
Ray said that the trial of Rolf Harris had been very public, and posited that Harris had already been punished irrespective of the jury’s final verdict. “He has been punished for his infidelity by, effectively, public humiliation,” Mr Ray said.
According to Fairfax Media, Harris sat without obvious emotion during the hearing, and waved to his family as he walked out of the court with his legal team. A source close to the Harris family has also told Fairfax that the entertainer was “in shock” following the verdicts.
A spokesman for the Harris family has said that no one will be making “any public comments or be available for interview either here or in Australia”. “The Harris family has also asked that their privacy be respected at this time,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Watch: Entertainer Rolf Harris found guilty of sex assaults (via Reuters)