On hearing the revelation of Rolf Harris’ arrest for sexual abuse allegations, my initial reaction lent towards disbelief. Like for so many others, the cuddly 83-year-old, didgeridoo-playing Aussie was a fond memory from my childhood, unlike Jimmy Savile who was always creepy. Twinges of nostalgia re-surface upon hearing the familiar saxophone tune to the opening credits of Animal Hospital, a programme that propelled Harris to the forefront of British children’s television.
It’s important to reiterate that Rolf Harris has not yet been charged, and remains on bail pending further enquiries until may. Harris’ prolonged anonymity throughout his arrest has raised questions as to the practice of naming those who are arrested but not charged. Is it right for the British press to sully the names of potentially good, honest people in the name of ‘public interest’ before they are formally charged for a heinous crime, that will inevitably, irrespective of whether they are found to be innocent, tarnish their name for good?
It appears as if Operation Yewtree has progressed into a celebrity witch-hunt, with suspects being arrested on insubstantial, flimsy evidence. Although we must put faith into the justice system and certainly not disregard such strong claims, to suggest at this point that Rolf Harris is guilty of the sex abuse allegations would definitely be stretching the facts.