11 Convictions Upheld in Rolf Harris Appeal
The Court of Appeal has upheld 11 indecent assault convictions of former artist and entertainer Rolf Harris. He had been convicted after a trial in June 2014, and sentenced to 5 years 9 months’ imprisonment. The 11 convictions were on the basis of historic allegations made by three women. Jonathan Rees QC and Julia Faure Walker were instructed to represent the Crown in the appeal, having not appeared at the 2014 trial.
Harris was convicted of 12 indecent assaults at London’s Southwark Crown Court in June 2014, one on an eight-year-old autograph hunter, two on girls in their early teens, and a catalogue of abuse against his daughter’s friend over 16 years.
One conviction from the 2014 trial was held to be unsafe. Those representing the appellant presented fresh evidence capable of demonstrating that Mr Harris was not at the venue where an indecent assault in 1969 had allegedly taken place. In 2017, relevant disclosure was made by the prosecution, by this time represented by Jonathan and Julia.
The Appellant’s representatives had also argued that the 3 other convictions from the 2014 trial were unsafe on grounds of alleged disclosure failings and fresh evidence which, it was suggested, undermined the credibility and reliability of a complainant who was assaulted by Mr Harris in 1986. It was further argued that, due to the cross-admissibility direction given by the trial judge, if the Court of Appeal were to find any conviction to be unsafe, the appeal should be allowed in respect of all 12 convictions. These submissions were successfully resisted by the Crown.
Jonathan and Julia were instructed by Iain Wicks of the CPS Appeals Unit.
To read about the appeal in more detail, please follow the links below:
Telegraph | The Guardian | ITV