New development in Hillsong founder Brian Houston’s court case
The court matter of Hillsong founder Brian Houston has been delayed once again after his lawyers told a court he would plead not guilty to allegations he concealed his father’s child sexual abuse.
Mr Houston, 67, was not required to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday morning as his matter was mentioned on Thursday.
Lawyers for the mega-church founder requested via email Mr Houston’s matter be adjourned so prosecutors and legal counsel could hold a case conference in February and re-list the matter.
The pastor for the powerful evangelical church was charged in October last year when his lawyer was served with a court attendance notice relating to one charge of concealing the serious indictable offence of another person.
Police allege Mr Houston knew from September 1999 that his father Frank Houston had indecently assaulted a male in 1970.
In court documents, police allege Mr Houston failed to tell the authorities, despite believing his father had committed the assault, and knowing he had information that might help a prosecution.
“Believing that Frank Houston committed that offence and knowing that he had information that might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution of Frank Houston for that offence,” court documents allege that he “failed to bring that information to the attention of NSW Police”.
The period of the charge is from September 15, 1999 to November 9, 2004, the day after Frank Houston’s death.
Hills Police Area Command began investigating reports Mr Houston had knowingly concealed information related to child sex offences in 2019.
After “extensive” investigations, detectives handed the brief to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who provided advice before Mr Houston was charged.
In a statement in August, Mr Houston said “I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”
Mr Houston founded Hillsong in the Sydney suburbs in 1983, while his father was head of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand until 1971.
The 67-year-old stepped down from leadership positions at Hillsong in September but retained his title as Hillsong global senior pastor.
The matter was adjourned to March 3.
Originally published as New development in Hillsong founder Brian Houston’s court case
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