In March 2013, Harris was one of 12 people arrested during Operation Yewtree for questioning regarding historical allegations of sexual offences. The allegations were not linked to those made against Jimmy Savile.
He was bailed without charge and did not comment publicly on the allegations, but was understood to deny them strongly. When returning to the stage in May 2013 for the first time since his arrest, he thanked the audience for their support.
In August 2013 Harris was again arrested by Operation Yewtree officers and charged with nine counts of indecent assault dating to the 1980s, involving two girls between 14 and 16 years, and four counts alleging production of indecent child images in 2012. London’s chief crown prosecutor, Alison Saunders, explained to the media:
“Having completed our review, we have concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged … The decision has been taken in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors and the DPP’s interim guidelines on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse. We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.”
Harris appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 23 September 2013, charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of making indecent images of children. His lawyer indicated that Harris would plead not guilty and he was subsequently bailed. A further hearing at Southwark Crown Court took place on 14 January 2014, he pleaded not guilty, and his trial was set to commence on 30 April 2014. In December 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that Harris was facing three further counts of sexual assault. The CPS says that the new charges Harris would face were of alleged assault against females aged 19 in 1984, aged seven or eight in 1968 or 1969, and aged 14 in 1975.
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Harris’s trial began on 6 May 2014. After several delays in the lengthy trial, where the judge’s summing-up took three days, the jury retired to consider their verdict on 19 June. On 30 June he was found guilty of all 12 counts of sexual assault.[