Rolf Harris is spending his first night in a UK prison after receiving a sentence of five years and nine months for 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986. The entertainer’s sentence has since been referred to the UK attorney-general for being “unduly lenient.”
The ABC reports the five-year-plus sentence was handed down yesterday by Justice Nigel Sweeney at London’s Southwark Crown Court. However, Justice Sweeney announced that half the sentence will be non-custodial, meaning the 84-year-old will not spend the entire sentence in jail.
“You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all,” Justice Sweeney said as he handed down the sentence. “Your reputation lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no-one to blame but yourself.” He commended Harris’ victims for their courage in coming forward.
However, the sentence, which comes with a non-parole period of just two years and ten months, is now facing review by the UK attorney-general’s office. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesman for the attorney-general’s office said, “I can confirm the sentence handed to Rolf Harris today has been referred to the attorney-general’s office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.”
“It only takes one person to trigger the process,” the spokesman added. The attorney-general now has 28 days to decide whether or not to refer the entertainer’s sentence to the Court of Appeal. It could potentially lengthen Harris’ time spent behind bars or leave his sentence unchanged.
Harris was found guilty on indecent assault charges earlier this week and was revealed to have been stripped of his ARIA Hall of Fame status just hours later. The disgraced entertainer has also been stripped of his Fellowship honours from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Watch: Entertainer Rolf Harris found guilty of sex assaults (via Reuters)