31 May 2017

Rolf Harris free after jury unable to convict

7:58 am on 31 May 2017

Former entertainer Rolf Harris has been cleared of four sex assault charges after a jury could not reach verdicts.

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris leaves Southwark Crown Court in London on Tuesday.

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris leaves Southwark Crown Court in London on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Prosecutors ruled out a further retrial for Harris, who denied indecently assaulting three teenage girls at public events between 1971 and 1983.

On Tuesday, the jury at Southwark Crown Court was discharged after spending five hours deliberating.

In a statement read by his lawyer, Harris said: "I feel no sense of victory, only relief".

"I'm 87 years old, my wife is in ill health and we simply want to spend our remaining time together in peace," the statement read.

It had been a retrial for Harris on three counts after a jury in a previous trial failed to reach verdicts. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not seek a further retrial.

The fourth count was a new charge of indecent assault.

The jury began deliberating on Friday but was unable to reach unanimous or majority 10-2 decisions on any of the charges.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said: "We have reviewed whether it would be appropriate to seek a further retrial on these allegations.

"We have come to the firm view that it would not."

Harris had been accused of groping a 14-year-old girl during a music event at the Lyceum Theatre in London in 1971.

Two further charges related to alleged indecent assaults on a teenager in 1978, during filming for ITV celebrity show Star Games.

The fourth related to a 13-year-old girl who said Mr Harris touched her breast after filming BBC children's TV programme Saturday Superstore in 1983.

Harris's lawyers said he did not remember any of the events in question.

He will return home after he completed his sentence and was released from Stafford Prison part way through the trial.

He had been serving time there for an unconnected conviction in June 2014 on 12 counts of indecent assault.


Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs