NZ link to Rolf Harris trial

Entertainer Rolf Harris and his wife Alwen Hughes arrive at Southwark Crown Court in central London. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Entertainer Rolf Harris and his wife Alwen Hughes arrive at Southwark Crown Court in central London. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Potential jurors in the Rolf Harris sex abuse trial in Britain have been told evidence will include events that happened in New Zealand and Australia.

The 84-year-old entertainer is facing historical sex charges against young girls and teenagers in London's Southern Crown Court. 

He denies 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls between the ages of eight and 19, said to have taken place from 1968 to 1986, The Independent reported.

A jury for the high profile trial was being selected today.

Trial judge Mr Justice Sweeney told the court the evidence included events in New Zealand and Australia and anyone with family or close friends there would not be eligible to sit on the jury.

"A fair trial is the right of all in this country. To state the obvious, the role of the jury is a vitally important one in ensuring the fulfilment of that right."

The jury should have no connection with the case, so that they were "able to reach true verdicts based on the evidence rather than on any preconceived ideas, beliefs or prejudices", he said.

The trial would begin as soon as the jury was sworn in, and was expected to take more than six weeks, The Independent reported.

Harris was born in Australia but has lived in the village of Bray, in Berkshire, for more than 50 years.

He has received a number of honours and was made Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2012.

The musician had his first hit with the song "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport"in 1960, and continued to enjoy success in the industry as well as forging a television career.

In 2005, he painted a portrait of the Queen and performed at her Diamond Jubilee concert.

Harris has been granted conditional bail, and was not being kept in custody during the trial, The Independent reported.

 

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