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Harris trial told 'his reputation will never be the same again'

ROLF Harris's reputation has been "trashed" and he has been punished for past infidelity with "public humiliation" during his indecent assault trial, a court has heard.

Giving the closing speech in the veteran entertainer's defence yesterday, barrister Simon Ray claimed that the prosecution had resorted to "name-calling" because the evidence fell short of the standard of criminal proof.

He told jurors at Southwark Crown Court: "One thing is certain, Mr Harris' reputation has effectively been trashed and will never be the same again. It may be that your own childhood memories have been altered.

"But after all of that, when you take a step back, have the prosecution come close to satisfying you so that you are sure he is guilty of any of this? You may conclude quite properly they have fallen a long way short of that."

Harris, standing trial at London's Southwark Crown Court, is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies.

Mr Ray, who stepped in to give the closing speech because Harris's QC Sonia Woodley is ill, told jurors Harris faced an impossible situation trying to remember details from so long ago.

During the trial, the court has heard details of two extra-marital affairs Harris has had, including one with an alleged victim, and prosecutor Sasha Wass QC accused Harris of having "a dark side".

Mr Ray said: "Everyone has a private life, everyone has a side to their personality that they only reveal to those that know them intimately ... you have heard that he has done things in his 84 years that he is ashamed of or regrets. Destroying Mr Harris's good name seems to have been essential to the prosecution case."

The jury was sent home until today.

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