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Jurors 'should dismiss emotion' in deciding verdict for Sydenham's Rolf Harris
Jurors trying the case of Rolf Harris should dismiss any feelings of emotion or speculation when deciding whether the veteran entertainer is guilty of indecently assaulting four women, a judge has told them.
Directing the jury on points of law, Mr Justice Sweeney said it was for them and them alone to reach their verdicts on the 12 counts he faces and they should treat Harris like any other witness who gave evidence.
Harris, who lived in Sydenham during the 1960s and 1970s, is accused of carrying out the 12 counts of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies.
Ahead of summing up the case, the judge told the jury of six men and six women at Southwark Crown Court: "Neither media nor internet nor speculation nor emotion of any type can have any part whatsoever to play in your deliberations.
"Guarding against speculation or emotion when entering into your deliberations is absolutely essential in a case of this type.
"What is required of you is a cool, calm, careful and dispassionate consideration of the evidence together with the courage to return true verdicts based on the evidence, whatever the consequences may be."
Mr Justice Sweeney said jurors must come to unanimous conclusions on the verdicts.
He told them they should treat the evidence of those who took to the witness box the same - including that of 84-year-old Harris.
"Do not fall into the trap of discriminating against the defendant because he came to the witness box from the dock, or of thinking that because he went into the witness box there must be an onus on him to prove something. There is not," the judge said.
"As with any other witness what you make of his evidence is a matter for you."
Mr Justice Sweeney also told the 12 jurors they should use their "joint experiences of life and your common sense" in deciding their verdicts.
He added: "That includes your ability to see the wood for the trees and to recognise a red herring when you see one and ignore it."
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