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​Lawyer welcomes verdict as Briton convicted of abusing Kenyans

Charity Boss found guilty of sexually abusing young Kenyan street children

16 December 2014

A leading lawyer at Leigh Day has welcomed the conviction of a British charity boss found guilty of abusing Kenyan children as an example of the extraterritorial reach of the UK’s sexual offences legislation.
 
Former public school teacher Simon Harris, from Herefordshire, denied using promises of food, money and schooling to lure vulnerable young street children to his luxury home in the town of Gilgil, where prosecutors say much of the abuse took place. 

The 55-year-old was on trial at Birmingham Crown Court, where the jury deliberated on a total of 23 charges after seeing testimonies from a number of key witnesses over a 6,500 mile video link from the town. 

The jury unanimously found Harris guilty of five sexual assaults relating to victims as young as 10-years-old, two instances of indecent assault and four counts of possessing indecent images of children. But jurors acquitted him of seven charges including rape, attempted rape and sexual assault. 

The offences were committed while Harris was running a gap year charity he set up in the East African country in the 1990s. 

His crimes came to light after a Channel 4 documentary team making a film about the plight of Gilgil's street children was given information about his activities and passed it on to the police. 

Nichola Marshall, a lawyer at Leigh Day acting for the family of a boy that Simon Harris is alleged to have sexually abused, welcomed today’s guilty verdict. 

She said: “Today’s verdict in the Harris case is a warning to British child sex offenders that they can be prosecuted in the UK for acts they commit abroad.”

 

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