Rolf Harris faces fresh abuse claims

Rolf Harris faces fresh allegations of abuse in the wake of his conviction yesterday for carrying out a string of sex attacks over three decades.

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More alleged victims have come forward to report attacks they say they suffered at the hands of the disgraced children's entertainer, the director of public prosecutions has said.

But Alison Saunders said it is too early to say whether Harris, 84, will face fresh criminal charges.

She said: "We know there has been more reporting, what we don't know yet is whether or not more charges will follow.

"We will work with the police and look at any cases that they send to us to see whether there is enough evidence to bring more charges. So it is too early to say really."

Ms Saunders said Harris had been exposed for using "elements of grooming" when targeting his daughter's best friend, who he indecently assaulted over many years beginning when she was just 13.

She added: "These were nasty assaults committed by a man who thought he was not going to be discovered and who thought he was above the law."

Ms Saunders said the conviction of high profile celebrities including Harris gave other sex abuse victims the courage to come forward and report abuse.

But asked if more women might have come forward if Harris' name had been publicised earlier, she said it was a "difficult balance to draw".

She said: "It is difficult, there are arguments on both sides - some people feel that they have been named and then if no charges are brought their reputation has been tarnished.

"But at the same time we have seen both in Rolf Harris and in other cases that if victims know that people are reporting that someone has been arrested they feel safer in coming forward , they feel they are not the only one and therefore we have seen more and more victims coming forward as people have been named."

Harris is the second celebrity to be convicted under Operation Yewtree, which was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Ms Saunders defended the police probe, saying it showed "no-one is above the law".

And she dismissed criticism that only a few of the high-profile arrests of celebrities had so far resulted in convictions.

She said: "What you have to remember is that we get it right in 86% of cases, we get convictions in 86% of those cases that we take.

"So we are not risk averse, we have to be very careful that we don't get to a situation where we only take very short cases.

"It's a matter for the criminal justice system and the juries to decide whether or not they believe, and whether they are satisfied on the basis of all the evidence that we put before them.

"That's a very different test from the one that we take, which is, is there a realistic prospect of conviction."

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