Rolf Harris and The Future of Sex Offence Cases

Former television entertainer and national treasure Rolf Harris has been cleared of four sex offence charges after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Rolf Harris

As this is the second time no verdict has been reached, prosecutors ruled out a further retrial for Harris, who denied indecently assaulting three teenage girls between 1971 and 1983.

The jury spent less than five hour deliberating before realising they were hopelessly deadlocked.

In a statement from his lawyer, Harris said: “I feel no sense of victory, only relief”.

He added: “I’m 87 years old, my wife is in ill health and we simply want to spend our remaining time together in peace.”

The jury began deliberations 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.”

Previous Conviction

This has no impact on his previous conviction from June 2014, where he was done for 12 counts of indecent assault. He was released from Stafford prison two weeks ago after serving over two years for the crimes.

Now most of us know what has been going on, but the question is, what does this mean for historic sex cases in the future?
At the risk of sounding trite, there can’t be too many celebrities or 80 year old teachers waiting to get busted. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any, just that most allegations that are likely to come out have had five years to do it.

I am actually amazed that we have had so many convictions. After 40 years it is very much a case of ‘my word v yours’. However, the likes of Stuart Hall, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford and Fred Talbot have been held accountable for their crimes. It is always going to be difficult to get convictions in cases like this and I think in general the CPS did quite well.

However, for me, this is more about a culture change. Back in the day, celebrities, or people in authority were off limits. If you made an accusation, you would be written off as a nutter. Now, even though we seem to rightfully be moving away from all ‘victims’ being believed (which just made sure allegations weren’t challenged meaning alleged accusers were slurred and cases dropped) complainants will get a hearing and will not be viewed with derision.

The Future of Allegations

Now if an accusation is made, the police will test the evidence, but the accuser will get a hearing. Interviews will be made with the accused, but from a place where the police want to find the truth, not from the starting point of wanting to apologise that they have inconvenienced him.

The Harris case is over. He is 87, he will go home, spend a few years there, and die a disgrace. This case isn’t going to change that, he has already condemned.
However, we now have a culture where it is better for a complainant to come forward. It will still always be challenging, unless we have a justice system where we go straight from accusation to lynch mob.

The Harris case was always the saddest. The man was the nation’s grandfather and a staple on children’s TV for decades. Hell, he even did Animal Hospital where they helped people’s pets. The fall from grace was always more marked than say Jimmy Savile, who was always seen as a bit weird.

But what was really sad is that victims had to wait so long for justice. Now I feel we wouldn’t have to wait so long.

This is definitely an improvement.

Martin Ward
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Martin Ward

Martin Ward is a well respected editor and writer with over five years experience in the adult industry. After stints in the Escort Advertising call centre and on the escort forum, he moved into the site editor position around three years ago.

Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.

When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
Martin Ward
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