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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Operation Yewtree: Rolf Harris charged with 13 offences

29/08/2013

The Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised police to charge Rolf Harris with nine counts of indecent assault, contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and four counts of making indecent images of a child contrary to section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978.

Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said: "We have carefully considered the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police Service as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Rolf Harris, who was initially arrested on 29 November 2012 over allegations of sexual offences. A file of evidence was passed to the CPS on 12 August 2013.

"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of a child. The alleged indecent assaults date from 1980 to 1986 and relate to two complainants aged 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged offending."

The charges are:

  • Six offences of indecent assault relating to a girl aged between 15 and 16 from 1980 to 1981
  • Three offences of indecent assault relating to a girl aged 14, in 1986
  • Four offences of making indecent images of a child between March and July 2012

Ms Saunders said: "The decision to prosecute 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.

"Mr Harris will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 23 September 2013.

"May I remind all concerned that Mr Harris has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. In 2011-2012, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health (DoH) prosecution functions were transferred to the CPS. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  4. In 2012-2013 the CPS employed around 6840 people (full time equivalent as at March 2013) and prosecuted 804,959 cases with 97,182 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 707,777 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 78,387 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 610,213 in the magistrates' courts. In total 85.5% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  5. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.