Junior barrister to address Harris trial

Last updated 22:37 16/06/2014

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The defence's crucial closing address in the Rolf Harris trial will be delivered by a junior barrister after the entertainer's leading lawyer was hospitalised.

The trial was delayed last Wednesday when Sonia Woodley QC was admitted to hospital.

She was discharged on Friday but Justice Nigel Sweeney on Monday told the jury Woodley was still not well enough to attend court.

The judge said junior counsel Simon Ray would therefore deliver the defence's closing address in Harris's child sex abuse trial.

Ray has, however, asked for "a little more time" to get ready, Justice Sweeney told Southwark Crown Court.

The defence barrister is now expected to address the 12 jurors at midday on Monday.

It will be the first time Harris's defence team will lay out its case in detail.

While prosecutor Sasha Wass QC delivered an opening address almost six weeks ago the defence's case has emerged piecemeal during the examination of witnesses.

In her closing speech last Tuesday, Wass urged the jury to find Harris guilty on the basis that 10 alleged victims had given "chillingly similar accounts".

The prosecutor said indecent assault cases often relied on the word of one alleged victim against a perpetrator but with Harris, many women had described his "deviant sexual behaviour".

The 84-year-old is charged with assaulting four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.

Another six women have given supporting evidence that the artist abused them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta.

Harris denies inappropriately touching any of the alleged victims.

"They are all making it up," he told the court in late May.

The trial continues.


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- Sydney Morning Herald

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