Rolf Harris: NZ victims look at compensation

Last updated 11:26 03/07/2014
Rolf Harris
Reuters

CONVICTED: Entertainer Rolf Harris (centre) is surrounded by the media as he leaves Southwark Crown Court in London a guilty man.

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Victims of entertainer Rolf Harris have contacted British compensation lawyers about allegations of assaults in New Zealand.

Liz Dux, who heads a team of lawyers at British firm Slater and Gordon dealing with Jimmy Savile abuse cases, said a number of Harris' potential victims had contacted the firm since the guilty verdicts against him.

"We can confirm we have been approached by a number of potential victims and that allegations relating to assaults in New Zealand have been made," she said.

Harris, 84, was found guilty in England this week on 12 charges of indecently assaulting four girls over nearly 20 years from 1968.

Witnesses from New Zealand gave evidence at the trial, but Harris was not charged with offences against them as the court did not have jurisdiction to prosecute incidents that took place outside Britain.

Dux said her team was in the early stage of its investigation and could not confirm details about the complainants.

Since the verdict, the firm has been contacted by more than a dozen women from around the world who claim to have been abused by Harris, some of them as children.

Richard Scorer, head of child-abuse inquiries at the firm, said the women were advised to contact police, but his firm could help them seek civil damages.

"If people want to seek compensation, if they've genuinely been abused, then of course it's right and proper that they can do that."

He said the "psychological impact" of Harris' depravity, combined with the "length and duration of the abuse", would determine the amount of compensation for each victim.

The length of any civil litigation would depend on the number of potential victims involved, he said.

The firm's Melbourne-based lawyer, Barrie Woollacott, said the firm planned to launch a civil claim in a British High Court within weeks.

During Harris' eight-week trial it was revealed that his estate was worth an estimated NZ$21.5 million.

Harris is due to be sentenced tomorrow (UK time).

- Stuff, with AAP

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