Rolf Harris has day in court

Last updated 08:56 24/09/2013
Harris
Reuters

MEDIA SCRUM: Rolf Harris pictured after his court appearance.

Harris
Reuters
ON BAIL: Entertainer Rolf Harris and his wife Alwen Hughes leave Westminster Magistrates Court, in central London.

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A frail-looking Rolf Harris has indicated he will plead not guilty to 13 child sex offences during a brief court appearance in central London.

Harris, dressed in a dark suit and colourful tie, was accompanied by his wife and middle-aged daughter as he entered Westminster Magistrates Court past a huge media scrum.

He only spoke briefly inside the courtroom to confirm his personal details.

After giving his name the veteran Australian entertainer paused to say "um, what's next?".

He then hesitatingly stated his address and date of birth.

Harris's lawyer, Sonia Woodley QC, said Harris would be pleading "not guilty".

The packed courtroom heard Harris stands accused of violating two teenage girls in the 1980s.

Prosecutor Christine Athanasius said he was also accused of oral sex with respect to the first complainant.

Ms Athanasius said there was "repeated offending".

Harris is facing six counts of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1980 and 1981 and three charges of indecent assault on a girl aged 14 in 1986.

He is also charged with four counts of making indecent images of a child in the first half of 2012.

For the alleged offences committed after 1985 he could face up to 10 years' jail.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot on Monday (local time) said her powers were insufficient to deal with the case and referred it to a higher court.

Harris will now reappear at Southwark Crown Court on October 7.

He remains on conditional bail and is banned from contacting 10 witnesses who can't be named for legal reasons.

The artist and singer also is not to have contact with anyone under 18 unless accompanied by a person over the age of 21.

"This is to prevent further offences," Judge Arbuthnot said.

Harris was first questioned by police concerning the allegations in late 2012 and charged at the end of August this year.

He has not commented publicly but has performed two shows since being named in the press.

It was revealed on the weekend his paintings have been removed from Cunard cruise liners, including the Queen Mary 2, and that he has been replaced as the narrator of children's TV show Olive the Ostrich by stand-up comic Alexei Sayle.

Last month, Harris was dumped as the host of British television show Animal Clinic and it became public in April he'd been axed as the face of British Paints.

Harris on Monday walked slowly from the court building with his wife Alwen, who was using a walking stick, and daughter Bindi, as police pushed back a tightly packed crowd of photographers and cameramen.

The couple struggled for room to get into their waiting silver Chrysler as they left.

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