'Pathetic' - Rolf Harris sentence slammed

Rolf Harris arrives for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in London. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Rolf Harris arrives for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in London. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Rolf Harris' "lenient" jail sentence for indecently assaulting four girls has been been met with widespread condemnation on social media.

Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months in prison after being found guilty on 12 counts, but Justice Nigel Sweeney said he would only serve half that time.

The fact the 84-year-old Australian artist could be released within three years caused anger and disbelief among some members of the public.

Many took to social media to slam the sentence as "shocking", "an absolute joke" and "disgustingly short", while others said it was evidence of a broken justice system.

One woman wrote: "Rolf Harris' pathetic sentence makes me feel quite sick."

Another man said: "He's effectively left the people he abused with life sentences so why hasn't he been handed one?"

Media personality Derryn Hinch said: "Harris sentence light. Deserved longer. Worst thing for victims: Never said sorry, called them liars, forced them to testify."

Columnist and radio commentator Joe Hildebrand added: "Less than one year for each life ruined. I wonder how long Rolf Harris would've got if he wasn't Rolf Harris. #rolfharris"

British boxing champion Paul Smith Jr said: "Rolf Harris gets 5 yrs 9 months in jail. Less then 6 months per child. If I punched Rolf unconscious and left him there I'd be looking at 5yrs."

Some said they believed the sentence was fair, with others saying it was irrelevant because of Harris's old age.

The sentence has been referred to the UK Attorney General's office under the 'unduly lenient sentence scheme'.

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