Indecent assault charges against Rolf Harris dropped

Prosecutors have decided not seek a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict

Indecent assault charges against Rolf Harris dropped

Rolf Harris leaves Southwark Crown Court in London this afternoon, 30-05-2017. Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

The jury in the trial of TV star Rolf Harris has been discharged after failing to reach verdicts on four indecent assault charges.

The case has now been dropped after prosecutors decided not to seek a retrial.

The jurors deliberated for just under five hours since Friday afternoon at London's Southwark Crown Court over allegations Harris, 87, molested three teenage girls.

But they were discharged by Judge Deborah Taylor on Tuesday after failing to reach a unanimous or majority verdict on any of the charges.

No sense of victory

In a statement read by his lawyer outside the court, Harris said: "While I'm pleased that this is finally all over I feel no sense of victory, just relief."

Harris described how his wife Alwen is ill and the couple "simply want to spend our remaining time together in peace."

He also thanked the "extraordinary work and dedication" of his legal team, adding: "Above all I want to thank my wonderful friends and family who have supported me and Alwen over this difficult period."

Allegations

The court heard from three women who had made allegations against Harris.

The youngest was 13 at the time of a broadcast of BBC show Saturday Superstore in 1983. She alleged Harris assaulted her after the programme was filmed.

Another woman alleged Harris groped her at a music event when she was 14 in 1971, while the third woman claimed the star touched her inappropriately during filming of ITV's Star Games in 1978 when she was 16.

Harris' lawyers said he did not remember any of the events in question and claimed the women were driven by greed.

The former presenter did not give evidence in what had been a retrial on three of the four charges.

A jury in a previous trial at Southwark Crown Court earlier this year failed to reach verdicts.

Prosecutors had been given until Friday afternoon to decide whether to seek a second retrial on the charges but decided to abandon the case.

Early release

Earlier this month, Harris was released from HMP Stafford on licence part-way through the retrial.

He had served less than three years of a sentence of five years and nine months after being convicted of 12 unconnected counts of indecent assault in June 2014.

The counts involved four female victims aged between eight and 19.

Harris, born in Australia, moved to England in the 1950s before finding work in TV.

He also had a number one single in the music charts with the song Two Little Boys.