Kiwis may give evidence in Rolf Harris case

Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris

Two New Zealand women allegedly molested by Rolf Harris as young girls could be called as "bad character" witnesses at his indecent assault trial in London.

Details of the allegations against the 84-year-old entertainer were heard at the opening of his trial on 12 counts of indecent assault on four victims between 1968 and 1986.

The court was told that during a promotional trip to Hamilton in 1991 for British Paints, Harris allegedly groped a 15-year-old girl and her mother.

"[Harris] stepped towards [the girl] as if to hug her and then put his right hand into her blouse and touched her left breast. At the same time he put his left hand on her right buttock and squeezed it," prosecutor Sasha Wass told the Southwark Crown Court.

The girl later told her mother Harris was "a bit handy".

The court was told that when the mother called Harris "a disgusting creature", he gestured at her daughter and whispered "she liked it".

On an earlier visit to New Zealand in 1970, he allegedly placed his hands under the dress of a teenage girl while dancing with her.

"The experience shows another step in the pattern of Mr Harris' behaviour ... He was targeting people who were in awe of him, he pushed the boundaries even in a public place, a dance floor. He knew he could get away with it," said Wass.

He was "an immensely talented man" who possessed a "kind side" that charmed audiences.

But she said his fame gave him the opportunity to carry out "brazen" indecent assaults, often when others were present.

The Crown contended Harris believed his popularity made him "untouchable".

"Concealed behind this charming and amicable children's entertainer, lay a man who exploited the very children who were drawn to him.

"There is a Jekyll and Hyde nature to Rolf Harris."

A large group of supporters, including his wife Alwen, was in court.

The trial continues.

- APNZ

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