Rolf Harris arrested as part of Savile probe, reveals The Sun

The veteran entertainer was arrested last month, but was only named in media today

LAST UPDATED AT 15:59 ON Fri 19 Apr 2013

ROLF HARRIS has been arrested and questioned over historic sex abuse allegations in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, it has been confirmed.

The 83-year-old Australian entertainer has been under investigation since November, when he was first interviewed by police under caution, five days after a raid at his home in Berkshire. Last month he was formally arrested as part of Operation Yewtree and is currently on police bail.

He is the latest of a string of celebrities to be arrested by Yewtree officers, although the allegations against him are not connected to Savile.

So far 11 men, including Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Dave Lee Travis, PR guru Max Clifford — who all deny wrongdoing — and Gary Glitter, have been arrested as part of the operation.

The Sun was the first national newspaper to identify Harris, although his name had been circulating on social media and other websites for several months.

The paper claimed that it had taken the decision to run the story because "the Met have repeatedly refused to confirm that Harris had been quizzed — amid public concerns over 'secret' arrests".

The Guardian's media blogger Roy Greenslade came out in favour of the Sun's decision. He revealed that Harris's lawyers had recently ordered a "relatively obscure" website to take down stories that named him, but added: "If someone is arrested, then it is justifiable to report that fact.

"We can't have a situation in which the police decide whether an arrested person is named or not, which appears to be current practice. Our crime and justice system must operate in daylight. The identities of people who are arrested should not be confidential matters."

The Guardian also reports that the entertainer's lawyers had invoked passages from the Leveson report in their letters to publishers who had named him.

Harris has been a fixture on British TV for more than 40 years and has presented TV shows including Animal Hospital. He has also enjoyed musical success with songs including Two Little Boys and a cover of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven. · 

Disqus - noscript

No, these people should not be named unless and until convicted.

Anyone, though, who feels sympathy for these celebrities should reflect on the mockery that TV stations have helped visit upon anonymous innocent Catholic priests.

Harris was bailed is not the same as Harris was charged, it is a formality when someone makes a complaint against someone else. If he is not charged then an innocent man has just had his life turned upside down in the most repugnant way, and his career irreversibly damaged. No one will know the full extent of this story until a trial, not even the media. Naming him was wrong.

...what has happened to the time-honoured principle of "innocent until proven guilty"? Next, we will hear that Rolf Harris is a "paedophile"! He has NOT been charged with any offence - he has NOT been found guilty in a court of law - neither, for that matter, was Jimmy Savile found guilty of any offence and I doubt that, should he emerge from the grave to face his accusers, it would be possible to afford him a fair trial - such has been his post mortem vilification and the extent of the prejudicial coverage of his alleged crimes.

I find it to be entirely anomolous that people such as Rolf Harris, Jim Davison et al should be named as "paedophiles", as a result of unproven and, quite possibility, malicious rumour-mongering; by the same token I find it hard to justify publicly naming men accused of rape - it is too easy to play the "rape card" and it seems to happen with monotonous regularity. It also makes it more difficult for genuine victims of rape to be taken seriously, thus compounding the injustice.

By all means if, at the end of due process of the law and a resulting guilty verdict being delivered, name the offenders - but not until then.

"Harris’s accuser is a woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by him when she was a teenager."

This makes no sense. If she was a teenager, she might have been under age according to local law, but that is NOT pedophilia as reported. How old was she? It is one thing to have sex with an 18 year old when the age of consent is 21, and quite another to molest an 10 year old. This is libel even if he did have sex with the teen.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.