Rolf Harris trial: Entertainer 'disguised dark side of character'

Rolf Harris Image copyright PA
Image caption Rolf Harris denies the charges against him

Rolf Harris has admitted he is good at disguising a "dark side" of his character as he gave evidence for a second day at his sex abuse trial.

The 84-year-old TV entertainer said his wife and daughter had not known of his relationship with an alleged victim.

Prosecuting lawyer Sasha Wass QC said the court would need to fathom "how dark that dark side actually is".

Mr Harris, of Bray, in Berkshire, denies 12 indecent assaults between 1968 and 1986.

He told Southwark Crown Court he had had a consensual relationship with one woman - a childhood friend of his daughter - who is the subject of seven of the charges Mr Harris faces, when she was an adult, but that nothing had happened while she was a child.

When he said friends and family had not known about the relationship, Ms Wass asked: "You are pretty good at disguising that dark side of your character aren't you?"

"Yes," Mr Harris replied.

In court

Image copyright Julia Quenzler

Sarah Falkland, BBC News

"It's not a talent show!"

That's how Sasha Wass QC calmly and politely steered proceedings at Southwark Crown Court today back to the serious business of the charges in hand.

Yesterday may have seen a show of theatricality from Rolf Harris, but today his arguments are under intense scrutiny.

Visibly quieter and less animated, he is facing tough cross examination in the witness box.

Quite often, he answers with affirmations, such as "I wasn't there", "it didn't happen", and "I don't know".

Bikini comment

Mr Harris denied assaulting the woman during a holiday, when she was a child, telling the court: "It never happened."

But he accepted that he had told the woman - then aged 13 - that she "looked lovely in her bikini" and when asked if he was telling her "you have got a great body", replied: "I suppose so."

When Ms Wass said: "By saying that to a 13-year-old, that's a sexual remark isn't it?"

"In hindsight I suppose it is," he replied.

Referring to his behaviour on the trip, when it has been alleged that he indecently assaulted her several times, Ms Wass suggested Mr Harris "played with her like she was a toy".

He said: "I would never do that."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Harris was in the witness box for a second day

And he disputed an account from the woman's mother that he had visited her family home without his daughter, Bindi, being there.

"Didn't happen," he said.

Ms Wass said Mr Harris had been "above suspicion", and had taken advantage of being "a well-loved children's entertainer".

He said that had not happened.

Asked about a claim he indecently assaulted the girl while his daughter was asleep in the same room, Mr Harris told the court: "She's said all sorts of things that if it wasn't so serious would have been laughable."

Ms Wass said the abuse had been "part of the thrill" for Mr Harris, and listed the names of each alleged victims.

After each one, he said: "Nothing happened".

'Good friend'

Ms Wass told the court Mr Harris had said in his statement he had only had two "incidents of intimacy" with the alleged victim, and asked why he did not "tell the truth".

He said: "We had two very attractive young ladies on the lawyers chamber and I was too embarrassed to say what had happened with them present."

Mr Harris told the court he had a "huge row" with his daughter when she learned of his relationship with the woman, who was her friend.

"She'd smashed a couple of paintings of mine," he said, saying he could not remember when this had happened.

Asked about his relationship with the alleged victim, Mr Harris said it had been based on a "mutual feeling of warmth and affection" and had not been an "affair".

He was again shown the letter he wrote to his alleged victim's father in which he confessed to a sexual relationship when she was over 18, and said it had been "extraordinarily difficult to write".

The court also heard evidence from pantomime producer Paul Elliott, who described Mr Harris as "warm, fun, cuddly, jolly, a good friend to have".

Asked whether he had ever been concerned about Mr Harris's behaviour with "young children and adults", he replied: "Absolutely not".

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