Daughter 'smashed paintings' over Harris abuse claims

Bindi Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
Bindi Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
Bindi Harris banged her head against a wall she was so beside herself with shock when told that her famous father Rolf had sexually abused her childhood friend, a London court has heard.

At the start of Harris's third day in the witness box, prosecutor Sasha Wass QC suggested Bindi, during a phone conversation in 1997, accused the entertainer of assaulting her friend.

"Yes," Harris agreed.

Ms Wass told the jury Bindi had been "beside herself with shock" and "she was banging her head against a wall".

The artist's daughter also smashed some paintings he'd given her, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Ms Wass then suggested Harris told his daughter he'd actually had a consensual affair with her friend that started when she was 18.

"I can't remember exact details of what Bindi said," Harris told the court on Thursday.

The entertainer further said he couldn't remember "at this stage" if his daughter had counselling around that time.

Harris on Wednesday admitted he may have sexually admired his daughter's then 13-year-old friend when she joined his family on an overseas holiday in the late 1970s.

That's when she claims he first abused her.

On Thursday he was grilled about the similarities between all the allegations he was facing.

Ms Wass said there was a "common theme" in what the women said happened.

They met Harris during his role as a public entertainer, the assaults started with a "friendly gesture" and the victims were unable to move away or protest.

Further, the prosecutor continued, other people were present or nearby and after the alleged assaults Harris acted "as if nothing had happened".

"They are all giving similar lies if they are lying," Ms Wass said, before asking Harris if he could explain that.

"No, I can't," the 84-year-old replied.

Ms Wass argued that the first assaults against Bindi's friend and the alleged attack on NSW woman Tonya Lee in 1986, when she was 15, were "almost identical".

"That's what she said," Harris said referring to Ms Lee's account.

"Considering she was wearing a duffel coat I find it hard to believe any of it."

Ms Wass criticised Harris's statement to police that Ms Lee may have made up her allegations "motivated by a desire for fame and financial reward".

The prosecutor told the jury the fact somebody sold their story and hired a PR agent didn't mean they weren't telling the truth.

She noted Harris had sold his autobiography and even employed a PR firm to represent him during the current court case.

Ms Wass said the veteran entertainer's claim Ms Lee was in it for the money was an attempt to "vilify" her in the same way he'd tried to discredit Bindi's friend by suggesting she was engaged in blackmailing.

"I'm just telling the truth," Harris said.

Ms Wass also pressed Harris on his claim that Bindi's friend asked for STG25,000 to help save a bird sanctuary and threatened to go to the newspapers if the money wasn't forthcoming.

The prosecution suggested the request was made in 1994 when Harris started hosting Animal Hospital and well before the alleged victim confronted Harris about the alleged abuse in 1997.

"She wasn't saying 'I want money for myself'," Ms Wass said.

But Harris insisted "she repeated the demand" in 1997 when confronting him about the alleged abuse.

"There was always that (newspaper threat) hanging over me."

The 84-year-old is charged with indecently assaulting four girls in Britain between 1968 and 1986. He denies all 12 counts.

The trial continues.

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