British and Australian entertainer Rolf Harris has appeared in a London court to answer charges including nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of children.
The 83-year-old only was asked to give personal details at the Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday. After hearing not guilty pleas from Harris’ lawyer, Sonia Woodley QC; the Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: “Clearly my powers are insufficient in this case and this matter will be going to the Crown Court.” Harris was released on bail and the case was referred to a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on October 7. He was barred from contacting the prosecution witnesses and is restricted to his home address in Bray. The regulation also declares that he avoids anyone under the age of 18 unless they are accompanied by someone over 21. Referring the hearing to the Crown Court is a process of escalating the case. There he could stand trial for six charges of indecent assault of a girl aged 15 and 16 at the time, in 1980 and 1981, and three offences of the same manner related to a girl who was 14 in 1986. The TV host, who presented British and Australian children shows for some 45 years, is also alleged to have made indecent images of a child four times between March and July last year. The indictment of the aged UK celebrity comes as part of the investigation, called Operation Yewtree, into the affairs of British entertainment industry’s employees that has sent fourteen men into custody so far.