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  • 17 June 2014, 1:54

Rolf Harris 'Punished By Public Humiliation'

Entertainer Rolf Harris has been "punished by public humiliation", jurors in his indecent assault trial have been told, as his defence began their closing arguments.

During the six-week case, the court has heard claims Harris, 84, allegedly attackedfour victims, including the 13-year-old best friend of his daughter Bindi.

It has also emerged that he had an affair in the 1990s with his housekeeper, and the prosecution have described him as being a "sinister pervert" with a "dark side".

Defence counsel Simon Ray said: "Clearly he has had a far from perfect life and he has done things which he is ashamed of and regrets.

"How unusual is that in the context of a human life time? The prosecution clearly think it is important in their case."

He added that Harris' "whole life had been exposed and dissected in front if the world and he had been punished by public humiliation".

"One thing is certain, Mr Harris' reputation has effectively been trashed and will never been the same again," Mr Ray.

But he told the jury at Southwark Crown Court to "step back and out aside any emotion and think about the case calmly".

He added that Harris was a man of "good character who had never been in trouble with the police".

Mr Ray said that prosecutor Sasha Wass QC had relied on "name-calling the defendant" and that "problems with the evidence could not be brushed aside".

In an unusual move, Mr Ray gave the defence closing speech as the lead counsel, Ms Sonia Woodley QC, had been taken to hospital last week and although she had since been discharged she was not well enough to appear.

Mr Ray said that evidence against Harris on one allegation dating back to 1968 and involving a girl aged seven or eight and who claims she was groped by Harris was "at best weak and vague".

Mr Ray questioned why no independent record of him visiting Portsmouth could be found despite him "being at the height of his fame" as he was topping he charts with his hit Two Little Boys.

Dealing with suggestions from the prosecution that Harris had "lied about being in Cambridge" at the time of another alleged assault in 1975, he said: "He didn't lie. He forgot."

He pointed out the indictment put the alleged offence in 1975, when the girl was 13 and the video of Harris taking part in a TV show called Star Games in Cambridge that emerged earlier this month dated three years later to 1978.

Mr Ray said the footage was "unfortunate" but he added that if Harris had remembered appearing in the show "he would have said".

Harris denies 12 counts of indecent assault on four children and women aged between seven or eight years old to 19 years old from 1968 to 1984.

Mr Ray said of the main complainant: "When considered calmly and without emotion, this low-rent sporadic, illicit adult relationship ended with the bad feeling of everyone."

He added that as far as Harris was concerned the relationship was "consensual" and he "regretted it but it doesn't make it a criminal offence".

Mr Ray concluded that Harris' sexual encounters with the main complainant were "cringeworthy and regrettable" but questioned why she had returned "time and time again" to the Harris home if she had been abused by him.

The judge is expected to begin his summing up in the six-week trial on Tuesday with the jury due to retire on Wednesday.

The trial continues.

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