London: Rolf Harris has attended his trial on groping allegations for the first time since leaving prison on Friday and heard as one of his accusers testified that she would never seek compensation and was motivated only by the quest for “justice” and “vindication.”
Harris has served time in Stafford prison for a conviction in 2014. He was released on Friday, five days after his trial for four counts of indecent assault began at Southwark Crown Court.
Harris arrived at court around 8.30 local time, 90 minutes before his hearing was due to begin. His in-person attendance has been well reported in the British media and the public and press galleries were both full and there was a large media presence outside the court, including photographers, journalists and cameramen.
The 87-year old entered the courtroom slowly, accompanied by his niece Jenny and another woman. He laughed and talked with his defence team, then smiled and said “morning” to the press as he entered the dock – a glass-panelled room at the back of the courtroom.
Harris listened to the trial on a hearing loop. He wore a navy suit, white shirt and blue tie with a pink pattern.
Day five of the trial heard from the third of the accusers, who alleges Harris touched her breast and asked her “do you often get molested on a Saturday morning.” The woman alleges the incident took place in 1983 at a filming of the BBC’s Saturday SuperStore program.
Harris denies the allegation and three other counts of groping two more women who were aged 16 or below at the time.
Harris’ barrister Stephen Vullo QC asked the third woman if she was motivated by compensation, a question he has put to each of the accusers.
She, like the two other accusers, denied this: “It’s never been an issue for me??? I wasn’t interested, it was never in my interests,” she told the jury.
Under re-examination, the woman said she would not seek compensation even if the jury finds Harris guilty.
“No I haven’t and I don’t intend to. This has never been about compensation – this is about vindication and justice,” she said.
“I can’t understand how anybody would want to profit from something like this.”
The woman previously told the jury, comprising seven women and five men, that when she told her sister and parents about the incident, they did not believe that someone of Rolf Harris’ stature in the entertainment world would do such a thing.
“I spent thirty-odd years not being believed I didn’t think they’d believe me and I also didn’t think they would think it was a serious enough offence,” the woman said, when asked why she only came forward after Harris was convicted in 2014.
She said Harris’ previous conviction had not made it any easier to come forward.
“It’s probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life to be honest,” she said.
She, like the other two accusers have had private investigators employed by Harris trawling through their lives and contacting acquaintances they have not seen in thirty years.
“It’s been an awful experience,” she said.
“All I want is finally vindication and justice for the people that this has happened to over the years.
All three women, who came forward independently of each other, have denied being motivated by compensation. They all separately warned their families and friends that after the BBC identity Jimmy Savile was exposed as a sexual predator, that “Rolf Harris would be next.”
The trial is expected to last the rest of the week.
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