Rolf Harris admitted he sexually admired the body of his daughter’s 13-year-old friend when she wore a bikini on holiday, as English prosecutors quizzed the Australian entertainer on Wednesday.
The 84-year-old artist accepted he was good at disguising the dark side of his character as he was cross-examined in the witness box at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
Harris denies 12 counts of indecent assault against four female complainants, aged from seven or eight to 19, between 1968 and 1986.
Seven of the counts relate to his daughter’s friend, who claims Harris assaulted her over several years, dating back to when she was 13.
Harris told the court Tuesday that they had a consensual relationship when she was an adult but nothing had happened when she was a youth.
He admitted that he might have complimented the girl on her bikini.
Prosecutor Sascha Wass put it to him that in doing so he was actually commenting on her body.
She asked: “What you were saying to (the alleged victim) is ‘You have got a great body’.”
The television presenter replied: “I suppose so.”
She added: “When she was 13?”
Harris answered: “Yes.”
The prosecutor added: “And you admired her sexually, that’s what that is.”
Harris answered: “It did not compute to that in my mind… in hindsight, I suppose it is.”
Of a claim that he indecently assaulted the girl while his daughter was sleeping close by, Harris said: “She said all sorts of things which if it wasn’t so serious would have been laughable.”
Harris is well-known as a painter, entertainer and television presenter in both Britain and his homeland.
He painted an 80th birthday portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 2005, and has the CBE honour in Britain — one step below a knighthood.
Wass described him as a “polished performer”, saying: “You’re pretty good, Mr Harris, aren’t you, at disguising that dark side of your character,” to which he replied: “Yes.”
The prosecutor told the jury: “The issue we really have to fathom from this court is how dark that dark side really is.”
The trial is expected to last at least another month.