Rolf Harris. Photo Reuters
Rolf Harris has had his reputation trashed and been
publicly humiliated over an "ill-judged" affair with his
daughter's friend, but there's no proof of any criminal
behaviour, a London court has been told.
Defence barrister Simon Ray used his closing address to
accuse the prosecution of resorting to "name calling" to
cover up holes in its case.
Mr Ray told Southwark Crown Court that "making allegations
loudly and forcefully does not make them true".
Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC, he suggested, had "sneered" at
problems in the crown's case which created "unavoidable
"One thing is certain, Mr Harris's reputation has effectively
been trashed and will never be the same again," Mr Ray told
jurors, adding their own childhood memories may have been
"But after all of that, when you take a step back, have the
prosecution come close to satisfying you (of his guilt)?
"You may conclude they have fallen a long way short."
The main complainant in the case is a childhood friend of
Harris's daughter Bindi who claims the entertainer first
abused her in 1978. She was 13 at the time.
But Mr Ray on Monday said the alleged victim made up the
story in the mid-1990s when confronted by her parents over
her heavy drinking.
It was a desperate attempt to excuse the sad state of her
life, the barrister said.
The complainant's brother in May told the court that when he
confronted Harris in the mid-1990s the Australian replied:
"It takes two to tango".
Mr Ray admitted that would be an extraordinary thing to say
if talking about child abuse.
However, it made sense if Harris was referring to a
consenting adult relationship that started when Bindi's
friend was 18.
A 1997 letter the artist wrote to the alleged victim's father
could also be consistent with that version of events.
Ms Wass last week said it was effectively a confession of
child abuse but Mr Ray argued it was more a confession of a
"regrettable and ill-judged affair".
He asked why, if Bindi's friend was so terrified of Harris,
she continued to see him into her late 20s.
The prosecution argues she was groomed and psychologically
dominated so that she performed "like a prostitute".
But Mr Ray said there was no evidence to support that theory.
Rather, he argued, the pair had "a sporadic, illicit,
somewhat low-rent adult relationship that ended in
embarrassment" but didn't involve criminal behaviour.
"A residual sense of shame and embarrassment ... doesn't
Harris admitted to a second affair during the trial with Mr
Ray on Monday stating: "He has been punished for his
infidelity by, effectively, public humiliation."
The defence barrister said it was "incredible" to suggest
Harris assaulted the main complainant while Bindi slept in
the same room unaware.
If his daughter did see something it was "unthinkable" she'd
now support her famous father.
Mr Ray said it was a "cheap shot" for the prosecution to make
public a mid-2012 email that Bindi sent to Harris asking if
she was the sole inheritor of his STG11 million ($A20
"Whatever happens in this court case is not going to prevent
Bindi getting her inheritance," the barrister said.
Mr Ray argued a second complainant, Australian woman Tonya
Lee, appeared to enjoy the fame she'd acquired by selling her
story to Woman's Day and A Current Affair.
He told the court she was untruthful as revealed by "the ease
with which she has lied in the past ... well and
During the trial Harris said he'd never been to Cambridge -
where a third complainant says she was assaulted in the 1970s
- until three or four years ago.
But video subsequently emerged of him participating in Star
Games which was filmed in the university city in 1978.
Ms Wass accused Harris of lying but Mr Ray said if the
Australian had any recollection of the event he wouldn't have
issued a blanket denial.
"No defendant would be that stupid," Mr Ray told the jury.
"Mr Harris didn't lie, he forgot."
The fourth and final complainant says she was groped as a
seven or eight year old at a community centre near Portsmouth
in the late 1960s.
But Mr Ray said she may have seen someone else performing one
of Harris's songs and thought it was the singer himself.
"She could honestly believe what she's saying but still be
Justice Nigel Sweeney will sum up the case on Tuesday with
the jury then "almost undoubtedly" retiring on Wednesday to
consider its verdict.