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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

Rolf Harris to be charged with seven counts of indecent assault

12/02/2016

The CPS has today authorised police to charge Rolf Harris with seven counts of indecent assault.

A CPS Spokesperson said: "We have carefully considered the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police Service as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Rolf Harris.

"Having completed our review in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with seven counts of indecent assault. The alleged offences date from 1971 to 2004 and relate to 7 complainants aged between 12 and 27 at the time of the alleged offending.

"Mr Harris will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 17 March 2016.

"May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Harris will now be commenced and of his right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Full details of the charge:

  • Seven counts of indecent assault on a woman contrary to s14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956
  • In the alternative: 1 count of sexual assault contrary to s3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003

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. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly 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.