Rolf Harris is a sinister pervert and a deviant who sees underage girls as sexual objects to be groped and mauled, the jury in his London trial has been told.
Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC launched a scathing critique of the entertainer’s character in her closing speech on Tuesday.
In a reference to Harris singing part of Jake the Peg at the beginning of his evidence a fortnight ago, the prosecutor said no one could buy, bully or sing their way out of a criminal charge.
Ms Wass reminded the court that the main complainant in the case – a childhood friend of Harris’s daughter Bindi – went to the UK police in November 2012.
That was 34 years after she was first abused by Harris, when aged 13, when she joined his family on an overseas holiday to Canada, Hawaii and Australia, the prosecutor said.
“So began the investigation into the seemingly untouchable world-famous children’s entertainer.”
Ms Wass said subsequently more and more women came forward who didn’t know each other.
They all described Harris’s “deviant sexual behaviour”.
“He was a sinister pervert who had a demon lurking beneath the charming character,” Ms Wass said.
The Australian “considered underage girls as sexual objects” that could be “groped and mauled” whenever he felt like it.
The entertainer believed his fame made him untouchable, the prosecutor said, adding he was “brazen and arrogant”.
Ms Wass argued it was absurd to think the four complainants and six supporting witnesses could have all made up such similar stories.
“They are clearly telling the truth. The prosecution says there can be no doubt they are telling the truth.”
The barrister told Southwark Crown Court most of the women gave evidence anonymously and clearly weren’t after fame or fortune.
She told the jury of six men and six women they might ask “what their motive could possibly be for lying”.
Ms Wass noted that some people had described Operation Yewtree as a “celebrity witch-hunt” and argued that “touching up teenagers” was acceptable back in the 1960s and 1970s.
But Ms Wass told the jury such behaviour was never acceptable.
“Neither fame, wealth, age nor talent can provide any excuse for this behaviour.”
The prosecutor said the entertainer’s defence was “tailor-made” to rebuff the allegations and included “irrelevant diversions” and “bizarre assertions” to distract the jury.
She dismissed the claim by Harris’s older brother and manager Bruce that he’d never seen the entertainer behaviour inappropriately towards anyone.
Ms Wass said the manager had a lot riding on the trial and could “in no way be considered an independent witness”.
Harris’s daughter Bindi Nicholls was seated in the public gallery for the first time on Tuesday alongside her mother Alwen.
Ms Nicholls hadn’t previously been allowed inside the court except when in the witness box herself.
Justice Nigel Sweeney told the jury the defence would deliver its closing speech after Ms Wass’s.
The judge will then sum up next Monday with the jury likely retiring on Tuesday to consider its verdict.
Harris is charged with indecently assaulting four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.
He denies all 12 counts.