Rolf Harris is either innocent or an idiot, jury told

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The jury in the indecent assault trial of former entertainer Rolf Harris have been told he is either an innocent man or an "idiot".

Harris denies four charges of indecent assault against three women between 1971 and 1983.

The Australia-born former television star, 87, who was freed from HMP Stafford on Friday, sat with a hearing loop in the dock at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Stephen Vullo QC, defending, said Harris is so certain of his innocence that throughout the investigation of all the charges he wanted to find as many witnesses as possible.

Mr Vullo said of Harris that "if he is an idiot then he got lucky".

Investigators tried to find people who were at a venue where an alleged incident took place, the court was told.

Mr Vullo said: "If he is guilty, or suspects he is guilty, why has he embarked or allowed investigators to embark on such an investigation?

"Why make efforts to trace eyewitnesses who were there at the time of the events?"

Mr Vullo suggested two types of people would take this approach.

He said: "(It is) a man who is innocent and knows he is innocent and knows that if a witness who is there with him on the day was found that she would be able to help him - or a total idiot because you would have to be a total idiot to ask for her to be found."

Harris is accused of groping a schoolgirl after he appeared in a broadcast of the BBC's Saturday Superstore in 1983.

He is also alleged to have indecently touched a 14-year-old girl in 1971 after she asked him for an autograph at a music event for children in London.

The musician and artist is also accused of twice groping a third teenage girl after being paid £100 to appear on ITV celebrity show Star Games in 1978, and telling her she was "a little bit irresistible", the court heard.

Jurors have been told Harris had already been convicted and sentenced for other offences in 2014.

They were told Harris did not give evidence at this trial because he could not remember the alleged incidents and has always insisted his innocence of all claims against him.

Mr Vullo began his closing speech by addressing the jury about what he called "the elephant in the room".

He told them: "You are a jury trying Mr Harris on sexual offences.

"Unless in the last few years you have been on a desert island you would have read many things in the media about Mr Harris. We accept that is the case."

Noting the legal system relies on the principle of trust, he said: "The test of a system comes when it is not easy to apply the law but when it is more difficult to do so - to put out of your mind anything you may have seen in the newspapers and before you came through that door to become our jury."

He said their role was to follow legal directions and give true verdicts according to the evidence they had heard.

As to whether or not Harris had a reasonable explanation for not taking the stand, Mr Vullo said: "If he cannot remember anything of them (the allegations) then what can he say other than he cannot remember."

He asked the jury to consider whether there had been any "inconsistent accounts" of what is said to have happened.

He also said the evidence of one of the alleged victims and the witnesses who supported her might have to be treated with "suspicion".

This may be the approach if it was felt, as argued by the defence, the woman had "manipulated and changed evidence to force you to agree with her", according to Mr Vullo.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC earlier told the jury there is evidence of each alleged victim having stated Harris had assaulted them "before" his name had been linked to any offence.

He described the alleged victims as "wholly independent of each other".

In recalling a suggestion that one of the women may have been seeking compensation, Mr Rees said: "I suggest to you that she did not come across as the sort of lady who would make up evidence to get compensation."

The hearing was adjourned until Friday at 10am.