We are undoubtedly a nation in shock this week. The man who was highly regarded by so many, including our monarch, found guilty of indecent assaults upon girls as young as seven years old.
Today he begins a sentence of 5 years and 9 months imprisonment of which he will serve a minimum of half.
During the sentencing hearing Mr Justice Sweeney noted that all offences committed were a breach of trust. He stated that Harris had taken advantage of his celebrity status and in praising his victims he criticised Harris for showing ‘no remorse’.
Harris’ victims have had to face the ordeal of giving evidence and recounting his vile acts. He was sentenced under guidelines in place at the time of the offences which meant that he could have been sentenced to a maximum term of 10 years on each count. Equally if the offences had been committed today the sentence may have been significantly higher, up to 14 years.
At the commencement of today’s sentencing hearing the Judge ruled that the four counts of making indecent images which Harris’ also faced could now be reported upon although the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with these counts.
It is clear from the impact statements made available to the Judge that the victims have suffered psychologically. Harris’ victims, as he is taken to the cells, will now return to their every day life. It is of course open to them to consider pursuing a civil claim against Harris. A key factor in any claim of this nature would be to assess the medical/psychological support required to help them move forward.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers specialist abuse team has extensive experience in dealing with cases of this nature. They are representing in excess of 180 claimants as a result of Operation Yewtree.
Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation for victims of abuse and any communication will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
Please call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you. Our contact centre is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
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