Hillsong's Brian Houston Denied Payout Over Failed Abuse Case

Brian Houston

Hillsong Church's founding pastor Brian Houston has failed in a bid to have his legal costs covered after unsuccessfully being prosecuted for allegedly covering up his late father's child abuse. Houston was cleared in August of 2023 of concealing a serious indictable offence for not reporting his father Frank Houston's abuse of Brett Sengstock to police.

Lawyers for Houston earlier argued the existence of a cover-up was "contradicted by a substantial body of evidence" including that the Hillsong founder publicly disclosed the allegations to police, his congregation and segments of the media.

They also argued police had failed to speak to key witnesses who could have substantiated his innocence.

The magistrate Gareth Christofi refused Houston's application for costs during a hearing at Sydney's Downing Centre on Friday.

Christofi said he was not convinced police conducted their investigation of the church leader in an unreasonable manner.

"I am not persuaded on balance that these proceedings were initiated without reasonable cause," the magistrate said.

Christofi said it was appropriate to litigate Houston's state of mind at the time. "In this case the applicant was the son of the man who committed these offences," he said.

"The applicant was in a position of authority and had the potential at least to influence how the matter would be dealt with."






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