Rolf Harris begins court battle to challenge indecent assault convictions

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris has begun a Court of Appeal battle to clear his name.

Harris, 87, from Bray, Berkshire, is making a fresh bid to challenge "unsafe" indecent assault convictions.

His renewed application for permission to appeal is being considered by three leading judges in London.

The proceedings before Lord Justice Treacy, Mrs Justice McGowan and the Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, relate to convictions in 2014.

The artist and musician was convicted of 12 indecent assaults at London's Southwark Crown Court in June 2014, one on an eight-year-old autograph hunter, two on girls in their early teens, and a catalogue of abuse against his daughter's friend over 16 years.

A few months after he was found guilty he failed in an attempt to bring a challenge when a judge refused his application for permission to appeal after considering the case papers.

During the latest round of his battle against conviction, the three judges will hear submissions on behalf of Harris, who has attended the hearing, and from the prosecution, which is contesting the application.

Stephen Vullo QC, for Harris, will present four grounds of appeal during the hearing, which is expected to continue on Wednesday.

One of the grounds is that there is "fresh" evidence which supports Harris's case, and complaint is also made about a direction made to the jury by the trial judge relating to the credibility of complainants.

Harris, a family favourite for decades, was jailed for five years and nine months after being convicted of a string of assaults which took place between 1968 and 1986.

The Australian-born television presenter has since been released from that sentence.

In May this year he was formally cleared of unconnected historical sex offences, which he had denied.

He was formally cleared of four counts of indecent assault against girls as young as 13 after a retrial ended with a hung jury.

At the end of Tuesday's hearing, Lord Justice Treacy announced the court would not give a ruling immediately after submissions from both sides were completed.

He said the application "requires careful consideration and assessment".

The hearing continues on Wednesday.

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