License article

Harris witness tells of lascivious attack on make-up artist

In the 1980s, actor Tony Porter saw Rolf Harris grope a make-up artist's breasts - making a ''lascivious noise'' while doing so - at the ABC's television studios in Melbourne. So when Porter read a about a TV make-up artist preparing to give evidence against the Australian entertainer, he assumed she was the woman he had seen Harris assault.

''I thought 'she's going to need someone to corroborate her','' said Porter, a retired Channel Ten news producer who has also acted in Neighbours, Underbelly and Blue Heelers. ''Everybody knows it's hard for women to be believed when they stand up in court and say 'this happened to me'. There are always those prejudices … 'no you didn't' or 'you asked for it' or 'you're making this up'.''

Porter flew to London to give evidence against Harris - helping the jury find him guilty on Monday of all 12 charges of indecent assault against four girls.

But Porter was shocked to discover the woman he had read about was not the one he had seen assaulted by Harris. It was a different TV make-up artist whose story was eerily similar to what he had seen all those years ago. Porter understands the ABC make-up artist never came forward.

''It never occurred to me, up until that point, that there might have been more than one such assault,'' he said. ''All the women [who gave evidence] have been vindicated. I would have felt very sorry for them if he'd walked because the immediate implication of that is that some, if not all, those women were telling porkies. And I don't believe that for a moment.''

Porter said while he cannot speak for the other witnesses, ''I can speak for one witness, and that's me, and I know I was telling the truth … it happened, I was there.

''As I said in court, the first thing I said [to my wife] when I got home that evening is 'You'll never believe what Rolf did tonight'. That's the sort of thing that sticks in your memory forever. It's a vindication for me and it's a vindication, more to the point, for all those women who had the guts to stand up and say 'this happened to me'.''