Rolf Harris trial: Jury remains out

The jury has now been deliberating for seven days. Photo / AP
The jury has now been deliberating for seven days. Photo / AP

The Rolf Harris trial could drag into another week with jurors asking for letters to be sent to their employers excusing them from work if their deliberations continue.

Yesterday had been set down as the last day the six men and six women could possibly be required for their London jury service.

But the trial, now in its eighth week, was beset by a series of delays in its later stages, including when defence barrister Sonia Woodley QC went to hospital.

Justice Nigel Sweeney yesterday admitted: "Today is the last day of the most pessimistic estimate of how long this would all take."

He told the jurors a letter would be sent to their employers and guaranteed "there will be no adverse consequences".

The jury has now been deliberating for seven days. It has been out for more than 30 hours in total.

"You are not, and must not, feel under any pressure of time or other extraneous pressure at all," Justice Sweeney said.

He reminded the jury members the court "requires true verdicts, if you can reach them, according to the evidence". The jury passed a note to Justice Sweeney on Friday, exactly one week after they first retired to consider the verdicts.

"We would like some clarification," the note began, before going on to query if they could discuss the legal directions they'd been given as "there seems some confusion".

The note raised five points, including whether the jury was "to judge each count independently".

Jurors also wanted to know: "Is it allowed to stereotype what the victim should have done prior to an alleged offence taking place in more than one count or using it against them?"

Harris, 84, is waiting for news at Southwark Crown Court supported by his wife, Alwen, daughter, Bindi, and a small group of other family and friends.

The former television star is charged with 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.

The Australian's main accuser is a childhood friend of Bindi.

She claims Harris abused her from the age of 13, which he denied.

- AAP


Read the coverage of the Rolf Harris trial here.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 21 Sep 2014 13:18:10 Processing Time: 254ms