Will new Rolf Harris song impact on him getting parole?

Will new Rolf Harris song impact on him getting parole?

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Photo from the BBC

Introduction

On 14th June 2015 the Daily Mail reported on a letter that Rolf Harris had written to a friend (who seemingly then promptly leaked it to the newspaper) where he was describing a song that he had written, in which he described his victims as “money-grabbing mercenaries intent on claiming compensation“.

Mr Harris is currently in prison having been convicted last year of various sexual offences against children. We have covered his case previously, but here is a good place to start.

I’m going to have a look at a couple of issues that arise –

Will this affect how long he serves in prison?

No. In short.

The Mail has a quote in the headline “Solicitor representing his victims now wants Harris to be denied parole”. We are assuming (and hoping) that this is not a direct quote, as the lawyer would presumably know that Mr Harris will be released automatically after he has served the custodial half of that sentence.

It used to be the case that people could apply for Parole after having served a third of their sentence, but could be held much longer if they were still a risk. The role of the Parole Board was gradually whittled away to the situation that we have today.

Personally, I think that is wrong, and would like to see a return to the system where could be released earlier, but only if they made proper attempts to reform.

But as it is, this letter will not make a difference to Mr Harris’s release date

Can he be stopped from releasing his song?

Probably not.

In theory, Mr Harris could have a licence condition to ‘not record any music’, or a restraining order could be applied for by his victims.

The difficulty is that it is hard to see how on earth whether Mr Harris makes a record or not has any impact on the safety of the public. Equally, it is unlikely that this would fulfil the conditions for a Restraining Order.

Mr Harris is entitled to his views, however misguided or in the minority they may be, and he’s entitled to express them in musical form if he wishes. Whether anyone would want to buy or listen to it is a different matter of course …

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Apparently the lawyer representing the victims is clueless as (reported by The Guardian)

    “I am calling for this letter to be shown to the parole board and for it to be taken into account when deciding when to release him,” Dux, from law firm Slater & Gordon, told BBC Radio 4.”

    • If this letter and song are genuine then Harris surely had the expectation it would remain private. The lawyer stating that it should be used as evidence against him demonstrates how British law is gradually being chipped away at.
      They basically call for punishment for what is a Thought Crime. What next?. Orders banning prisoners from discussing certain matters or giving their opinions in private conversations?

  2. Could Mr Harris’ writing of this song affect his privileges within prison now that has been publicised? Writing a song like that would not seem to be ‘actively engaging with his rehabilitation’ or similar requirements for the more extensive prison privileges…

  3. Marcus, Whatever he is required to do will leave him “copious free time” as Tom Lehrer put it. During that time he can write pretty well anything.

    Will anyone buy a recording of this? You bet they will. If they had let Myra Hindley publish her memoirs they would have been a bestseller.

    I note that there has been nothing in the media about civil proceedings against Mr Harris. Of course limitation would be a live issue. This is nothing like the man doing a long stretch for attempted rape who won the lottery – he has been there, traceable, and rich for decades. Limitation is doing exactly what it is designed and intended to do; stifling stale actions.

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