Hillsong Church founder and Senior Global Pastor Brian Houston will face a special, three-week hearing on charges he hid his father's alleged child abuse. This was revealed at a hearing today in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney. The prosecution and defence are expected to begin on December 2. The matter will return to court in November.
Houston's counsel, Ms Edwards, told the court that the prosecution and defence had agreed that three weeks was likely with a possible spillover to four weeks. Mr Harrison, who appeared for the prosecution, had said during their negotiations that a similar matter he had appeared in had taken three weeks. Harrison also said he would call on nine witnesses, while the defence had eight.
The NSW police will say Houston's father Frank indecently assaulted a male in 1970 and allege that, in the five years leading up to his father's death in 2004, Brian Houston believed his father had committed the crime. Police will argue that Brian Houston knew information that could help secure the prosecution of his father and failed to bring it to the attention of police.
In January, Houston has stepped down from all ministry responsibilities at Hillsong Church for the rest of the year, releasing a statement saying he welcomes the opportunity to "set the record straight."