Rolf Harris sentenced to five years and nine months in jail

Rolf Harris arrives for sentencing with his daughter Bindi (left) and niece Jenny. Photo: Reuters.

Rolf Harris arrives for sentencing with his daughter Bindi (left) and niece Jenny. Photo: Reuters.

ROLF Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months in jail by a London court for 12 indecent assault charges on four girls.

He will serve at least half that time in jail, which would make him 87 years old by the time he is released.

Mr Justice Sweeney told Rolf Harris that though he had done many good and charitable works the verdicts of the jury show that in the period of 1969 to 1986 he was also a sex offender.

"You took advantage of the trust placed in you because of your celebrity status to commit the offences against three of your victims," Mr Justice Sweeney said.

Against the main complainant, the judge said Harris committed the offence "in breach of the trust her parents placed in you".

"You clearly got a thrill from committing the offences while others were present or nearby."

"Your reputation now is in tatters … you have been stripped of your honours and you have no-one to blame but yourself."

The judge added that the main complainant had "suffered severe psychological injury in consequence".

"I have no doubt ... that it was your crimes against her that resulted in her becoming an alcoholic for many years with all that that entailed."

But Mr Justice Sweeney said it was her "brave recovery" from alcoholism that gave her the courage to make the first complaint against Harris which "began the series of events which led to your prosecution and conviction". 

Mr Justice Sweeney said he was sure that Harris continued to abuse the main complainant for a decade after the charges he had been tried for, and would be sentenced over.

"You got away with your offending for years."

Mr Justice Sweeney said he would have imposed a higher sentence but was constrained by the law as it was at the time of the offences. Some of the offences carried a term up to life in jail if they had been committed in modern times.

"Only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate for each (offence)."

Mr Justice Sweeney told Mr Harris to stand to hear the total sentence imposed of five years and nine months imprisonment, of which he must serve at least a half until he can be released on licence.

"You may take him down," Mr Justice Sweeney told the court officers in the dock with Harris.

Harris stood, buttoned up his coat and left the dock.

-with SMH

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