Rolf Harris jailed for nearly six years
Veteran entertainer Rold Harris leaves Southwark Crown Court in a van after being jailed for almost six years for sexually assaulting young girls.PT1M41S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3benu 620 349 July 5, 2014
A public mural in Melbourne will be altered to remove Rolf Harris' image in the wake of the the entertainer's jail sentence for sexual assault.
As several prominent Australians reacted angrily to the five-year, nine-month jail term handed to Harris on Friday, children's charity Variety said it had plans to "paint over" Harris' image in the painting it owns, which hangs in the food court at Queen Victoria Market.
The "Entertainers of the Century" painting features 100 Australian entertainers, including Harris. Artist Jamie Cooper will remove Harris from the canvas and replace him with another entertainer, who has yet to be decided.
The mural by Jamie Cooper at the Queen Victoria Market that includes Rolf Harris. Photo: Eddie Jim
ABC Radio reported that law firm Slater and Gordon has been approached by a dozen Australian and New Zealand women with claims that Harris sexually assaulted them dating back to incidents in the 1970s and 1980s.
''Given what we heard today in court a number of victims have suffered very profound damage I would have thought it was highly likely that claims would be brought,'' Alan Collins, at the firm's UK office, said.
While condemnation of Harris has been swift some have defended him on new Facebook pages titled: ''Rolf Harris is Innocent'' and ''Free Rolf Harris''. These were set up just hours after his conviction.
Most on social media have been overwhelmingly critical of Harris' short sentence or applauded that a jail term was given.
Harris was found guilty on 12 counts, dating from 1969 to 1986. The sentence, criticised by many as being too lenient, has been referred to the office of the Attorney General in the United Kingdom for review. Harris is expected to serve less than half the sentence.
Hetty Johnston, founder of leading anti-child sex abuse group Bravehearts Inc, raised the prospect of further charges against Harris.
''Rolf Harris - icon to inmate. victims vindicated. Hopefully when he comes out there will be more victims waiting to send him right back,'' Ms Johnston tweeted.
Father Bob Maguire, the outspoken Melbourne Catholic priest, questioned the entertainment industry's record on victims.
''What was everyone else doing while Rolf Harris performed atrociously? Is entertainment another institution in need of reform?''
Justice Peter McClellan, chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, will give a speech on Saturday in Sydney where he is expected to say that high profile cases such as Harris' were empowering victims to come forward years after their assault. He is expected to say that survivors of assault generally do not believe the age of sex offenders should protect them from a jail term.
Derryn Hinch, 3AW radio presenter and anti-child abuse campaigner who has served jail time for breaching court orders and naming sex offenders, also criticised the sentence.
''Harris sentence light. Deserved longer. Worst thing for victims: Never said sorry, called them liars, forced them to testify #rolfharris,'' he wrote on Twitter.
The Survivors Trust - an umbrella organisation in the UK for rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations welcomed a prison sentence for Harris but said his sentences for the crimes against four female victims should not be served concurrently.
''Without concurrent sentences, Harris would be facing 11 years and 9 months – a sentence that we feel better reflects the lifelong suffering his victims have felt and are still battling,'' it said in a statement.
It said Harris would have received a miniumum of eight years and could have got life imprisonment if the crimes had occurred more recently.
It said the ''sentence in no way reflects the ongoing nature of the suffering that his victims have experienced''.