Rolf Harris accused of 'deliberately lying' to the court after prosecution discover 1970s video of him in game show filmed in Cambridge

The 84-year-old entertainer, artist and musician had previously given evidence in which he claimed he had not visited the city until four years ago

Rob Williams
Tuesday 03 June 2014 05:55
Rolf Harris being shown footage of a TV game show starring the artist in Cambridge in the 1970s
Rolf Harris being shown footage of a TV game show starring the artist in Cambridge in the 1970s

Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris was today accused of deliberately lying to the court after prosecutors revealed television evidence that appears to contradict his claim that he could not have visited the location of one his alleged assaults.

Jurors were shown footage of a TV game show called 'Star Games' which featured Mr Harris and was filmed in 1978 in Cambridge.

The 84-year-old entertainer, artist and musician had previously given evidence in which he claimed he had not visited the city until four years ago for an exhibition of his paintings.

One of the star's alleged victims claims she was groped by him during a day's filming of a "It's a Celebrity Knock-Out type programme".

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Mr Harris groped her bottom when she was around the age of 14 in 1975.

She had previously described how Harris had been acting up for a crowd by barking at a dog before he grabbed her.

Mr Harris faces 12 counts of indecent assault against four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986. He denies all the allegations.

Giving evidence last week, the entertainer had dismissed this particular allegation by claiming he hadn't been to Cambridge until recently

"I went once, a couple of years ago, for an art exhibition of my paintings and that's the first time I have ever been to Cambridge," Mr Harris told the jury.

Sasha Wass QC, prosecuting, today accused Harris of "telling a deliberate lie" and claimed the television footage supported the accusations of his alleged victim.

"That video supports pretty much everything that (the alleged victim) said apart from the year, she has got the year wrong?", she said.

Mr Harris replied: "By three years, yes, she is out by three years."

Ms Wass said: "But when you told the jury with such confidence last week on Tuesday that you had never been to Cambridge until four years ago, that was a deliberate lie, wasn't it?"

He responded: "No, it wasn't. I didn't find out that it was in Cambridge until I saw the video played back and then at the very opening the voiceover introduced it over what I remember was a helicopter shot of the field.

"That was the first time I had heard the word Cambridge."

The veteran told jurors: "I had no idea. I don't think any of us knew."

Ms Wass asked: "Nobody knew they were in Cambridge?"

Harris replied: "None of the performers, none of the stars knew."

The video footage shown to the jury featured Mr Harris in a tracksuit top and white shorts.

Other famous faces included singer Joe Brown, Monkee Davy Jones, actor Julian Holloway, On The Buses star Anna Karen, and actress Rula Lenska.

Harris was seen in one clip appearing to mimic a kangaroo.

The entertainer was a team captain on the show.

Mr Harris told the court that performers would probably have gone to the shoot in a bus or a coach and would not necessarily have known where it was.

Harris said: "I was there but I didn't know it was Cambridge."

Ms Wass asked: "Are you saying that you entirely forgot that event?"

He said: "I did until I saw the video and then I remembered it all."

Pressed further by the prosecutor, the entertainer said: "I'm doing hundreds of events during the year, going to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa.

"This was 36 years ago you're talking about, 1978, not '75 as you stated earlier."

Ms Wass accused the entertainer of deliberately lying to the court and misleading the jury: "I'm going to suggest that you are the one that has lied and that demonstrates it, and that there is no way you could have forgotten that event and you deliberately tried to mislead the jury when you told them that you had not been to Cambridge until four years ago."

Mr Harris replied that he had "forgotten" the event until he had seen the video. He said he had not deliberately lied, but it was a "lapse of memory".

The prosecutor also put further claims to Mr Harris, including from a woman who claimed she was groped repeatedly by Harris while she was working as a television make-up artist in the 1980s.

The star denied her claims, and added that it was unlikely she would have been applying powder to him because he was allergic to it.

He also dismissed claims by a mother and daughter who said he first assaulted the girl, then later rubbed himself against her mother, during an event at a small hardware shop in Australia.

Harris said he did not remember the mother stamping on his foot and telling him he was a "disgusting creature".

She said: "That film footage which has come to light very late in the day... will demonstrate that it is not these victims who have lied, it's you who have lied. And you hoped to get away with that lie when it came to (the alleged victim who claimed she was assaulted in Cambridge)."

Harris said: " I didn't realise it was a lie, I had no recollection of being in Cambridge until I saw that video."

Ms Wass said Harris "can't have failed to know" that he was in Cambridge and told the entertainer: "The footage shows that you have lied during this case as you have lied about every other victim."

He said: "No, not lying. I just had not remembered anything about it until I saw the video."

Asked by his own barrister, Sonia Woodley QC, if he deliberately lied or misled the court, Harris said: "Well, it wasn't a deliberate lie. As far as I remembered I had never been to Cambridge and, until I saw that opening couple of frames of that programme, I had no idea that programme was done in Cambridge."

The trial continues.

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