Rolf Harris – Is this just the beginning?

On Monday 30th June, the entertainment industry was shaken to its core as one of its best known and widely adored figures, Rolf Harris, was found guilty of 12 counts of indecently assaulting four girls, including a childhood friend of his daughter, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Prosecutors said Harris was a ‘Jekyll and Hyde' character who took advantage of his fame. One autograph-hunter was aged just seven or eight years old at the time of the assault against her. Now, police have revealed they are considering allegations against Harris, 84, which did not form part of his trial and news reports indicate that up to 12 more people have come forward with new claims of abuse against the disgraced entertainer. ‘It would appear that, after the successful prosecution of Harris, more of his victims have found the strength and courage to come forward,’ says Charles Derham, Specialist hild buse Solicitor for Verisona Law. ‘It is all too easy to be cynical, but the truth is that it is often the fear of not being believed, especially when raising allegations against such a public figure, which holds victims back.’ ‘These criminal prosecutions will considerably strengthen civil claims for compensation against the entertainer, but victims need to carefully consider the background to their allegations. If an instance of abuse occurred that was closely connected to Harris’ employment by a media organisation such as the BBC for example, then the employer may be vicariously liable.’ The Historic Abuse Team at Verisona Law understands that some of the alleged victims coming forward are from Harris’ home country of Australia. ‘There is no barrier to victims claiming from abroad,’ confirms Charles. ‘However, they will need specialist UK expertise as this is where Harris resides and all allegations of abuse are being considered.’ Harris is the latest in a number of successful high profile prosecutions of indecent assault. year ago, former BBC radio and television personality, Stuart Hall, was sent to prison and earlier this year, celebrity publicist Max Clifford was sentenced to a custodial sentence of eight years in prison, the first successful prosecution of the police’s ‘Operation Yewtree’. Now reports suggest that a number of well-known figures will be being brought forward to face similar allegations. ‘If there are victims considering coming forward, they need to seek legal advice sooner rather than later, as there are strict court deadlines for making claims,’ advises Charles. ‘We have successfully represented clients across the UK and abroad who have told us our support and belief in their allegations makes all the difference when facing the daunting prospect of negotiating the legal process to bring a claim. ‘ ‘The most important thing, and what I would wish most for the victims in this latest case is that that the successful prosecution of Harris will bring some sort of closure and they can move forward with their lives.’

Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

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