Rolf Harris. Photo Reuters
The jury in Rolf Harris's indecent assault trial has
finally retired to consider its verdicts some six weeks after
the case opened in London.
Justice Nigel Sweeney asked the 12 jurors to begin their
deliberations just after midday on Thursday local time.
"You must not feel under any pressure of time at all," the
Earlier in the week, Justice Sweeney urged the jury to be
calm and careful when considering the evidence and then have
the courage to deliver true verdicts "whatever the
Harris is charged with 12 counts of indecent assault against
four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.
Another six women have given supporting evidence that the
artist abused them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta
between 1969 and 1991.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of two years' jail.
Harris denies touching any of the women inappropriately.
His defence team says the entertainer has been publicly
humiliated and had his good reputation trashed, but the
prosecution failed to prove he assaulted anyone.
Lawyer Simon Ray told the court this week that "making
allegations loudly and forcefully does not make them true".
Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC, however, has urged the jury to find
Harris guilty on the basis that 10 alleged victims gave
"chillingly similar accounts".
The prosecutor last week said indecent assault cases often
relied on the word of one alleged victim against a
perpetrator, but with Harris, many women had described his
"deviant sexual behaviour".
Opening the crown's case on May 9, the barrister said Harris
was a "Jekyll and Hyde character" who used his celebrity
status to assault underage girls.
The main complainant is a childhood friend of Harris's
She claims the entertainer first abused her in 1978 when,
aged 13, she joined the family on an overseas holiday.
Harris insists the pair had a consensual "affair" which
started in 1983 when his daughter's friend was 18. He was 53
at the time. The man who gave the world the wobble board
claims the alleged victim came on to him.
Another complainant, Australian woman Tonya Lee, alleges
Harris assaulted her in 1986 when, aged 15, she travelled to
London with a youth theatre group. The entertainer was 56 at
Justice Sweeney on Thursday reminded the court that Harris
accepted during cross-examination that the fact Ms Lee sold
her story to A Current Affair and Women's Day in 2013 for
$60,000 didn't, of itself, mean her account was untrue.
But the judge also noted that Ms Lee had admitted lying to
British detectives about her plans to speak with the media.
The defence had invited the jury to conclude that meant she
was not someone who could be relied on as a witness of truth,
Justice Sweeney on Thursday told jurors it was inevitable
there would be debate during their deliberations with
different views being expressed initially. All should be
listened to, he said.
The jurors have access to a television so they can watch any
of the video shown during the trial.
That includes film from the 1978 Harris family holiday and
the entertainer participating in an episode of Star Games in
Cambridge the same year.
A month ago, Harris denied ever being to the university city
- where a third complainant alleges she was assaulted in the
1970s - until three or four years ago. But he had to admit he
was wrong when the Star Games footage was dramatically
The fourth complainant says she was abused at a community
centre near Portsmouth in the late 1960s when she was seven
or eight. Harris says she may have mistaken someone else for
It's thought the jury could take more than a week to deliver