84 year old veteran performer Rolf Harris has been found guilty on all 12 counts of sexual assault. As the verdict was read out in the Southwark Crown Court, there was a stunned silence as the performer’s 60 year show business career collapsed around him. However those in court who had been following the case must have expected the verdict. He was pilloried on the front page of every UK daily newspaper, and likewise around the world and especially in Australia.
Gone was the happy, eccentric, talented singer and artist, and all that was left was the convicted paedophile and sexual predator. The judge has stated that a custodial sentence is inevitable, and the public have every right to demand and expect it! Each offence carries a 2 year sentence, although it is unlikely that Harris will serve 24 years for his crimes. He is more likely to serve 8-10 years, which means he could still die in gaol.
Organisations in which he has been involved are scurrying to remove him from their history. He has been stripped of his BAFTA fellowship. His Order of Australia is likely to be removed, and so too his MBE and CBE. Footpath plaques in Perth and Newcastle are likely to be removed. Harris will be made a nobody. Sydney’s Madame Tussauds has already removed his wax figure, doing so last May.
In court Harris lied about his relationships with his victims, and tried to make them out as liars, but in the end with skillful cross-examination by barrister Sasha Wass QC, Harris was undone and made admissions that sealed his fate. As a result of this trial, more victims has come forward to relay their stories to police. Some offences ocurred here in Australia or in other countries so therefore could not be heard as they occurred outside UK jurisdiction.
Harris will be sentenced on Friday, and will then be conveyed to London’s Wandsworth Prison to commence his sentence. From there he is likely to moved to Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire which a minimum security facility for those who are at risk in open prison but considered a low escape risk.
After 60 years of lies, deceit and sexual molestation, Rolf Harris will receive the only sentence that is long overdue for him. Life imprisonment. Even so, this is cold comfort for the abuse his victims have had to endure over time.
Here’s how Australian cartoonists recorded the conviction.
Cartoon by Lewis – Newcastle Herald 2/07/2014
Cartoon by Warren Brown, Daily Telegraph 2/7/2014
Harris’ $20 million fortune is likely to be eroded significantly to pay for his legal bills and as a result of civil actions from his victims and they seek compensation for his attacks on them.