ALENA PO ROLF’S ‘AP­PETITE FOR GROP­ING GIRLS IN PUB­LIC’

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

VET­ERAN en­ter­tainer Rolf Har­ris had it in his na­ture to grope women and girls “right un­der the noses” of other peo­ple in pub­lic places, a court has heard.

The 86-year-old fed his “ap­petite” by in­de­cently as­sault­ing seven fe­males – four aged no older than 16 – while he was a TV celebrity, a jury was told.

He took op­por­tu­ni­ties to grope his vic­tims in pub­lic places, and was for some time good at not get­ting caught, pros­e­cu­tor Jonathan Rees QC said.

In his clos­ing speech in the trial, which has lasted al­most three weeks, he said: “It is strik­ing that so many of the al­le­ga­tions in­volve Mr Har­ris get­ting away with a sly, quick grope right un­der the noses of peo­ple who did not no­tice.

“We sug­gest Mr Har­ris was very good at get­ting away with it.”

The Aus­tralian is serv­ing a prison sen­tence for indecent as­sault against four fe­males.

Mr Rees said that these con­vic­tions show Har­ris “has a propen­sity and ap­petite for in­de­cently as­sault­ing fe­males, in­clud­ing those un­der the age of 16”.

Har­ris, who sat in the dock of South­wark Crown Court, has been lis­ten­ing while wear­ing a court hear­ing aid.

Un­til late last week he had been fol­low­ing the trial via video-link from prison, and opted not to give ev­i­dence in his de­fence.

The pen­sioner, his lawyer Stephen Vullo QC said, would not have any­thing to add to his po­lice state­ment in DE­NIAL: Rolf Har­ris which he de­nied all of the al­le­ga­tions and said he had lit­tle rec­ol­lec­tion of the events he is said to have at­tended, where the al­leged as­saults took place.

Mr Rees said: “We say that in the cir­cum­stances of this case you would be en­ti­tled to con­clude that his choice not to give ev­i­dence is be­cause he wouldn’t be able ad­e­quately, or at all, to sub­stan­ti­ate any of these claims un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion.”

A num­ber of the al­leged vic­tims told friends or fam­ily mem­bers what had hap­pened be­fore Har­ris was ar­rested, ahead of his first trial, Mr Rees said.

He told the jury this shows they did not come for­ward for at­ten­tion or money.

Har­ris de­nies seven counts of indecent as­sault and one of sex­ual as­sault.

The trial con­tin­ues.

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