Hillsong Founder Brian Houston Seeks State Reimbursement for Legal Costs After Acquittal

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On Friday, an application was made by Hillsong founder Brian Houston in a desperate bid to have the lengthy legal expenditure surrounding his recent trial paid for by the state. Houston, 69, was acquitted of the allegations that he had concealed his father’s sexual abuse in the 1970s. Reclaiming the legal costs from these proceedings was the focus of his representation at the Sydney Downing Centre Local Court.

Earlier this year, Houston faced the court, vehemently denying a single count of concealing the serious indictable offence of another person. He refuted the accusations of having secretively withheld his father’s sexual misconduct against a child in Sydney making it to the attention of the authorities.

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In August, Houston was cleared from the charge but returned in September with his legal team to lobby the state to cover his extensive legal costs. Magistrate Gareth Christofi scheduled a hearing for determining whether the costs should be reimbursed, a session that is predicted to last less than two hours. This hearing, set for December 7th, will conclude the highly-publicised legal journey of Mr Houston.

Once acquitted, relief spilled from Houston, as he believed the truth had been laid bare. He acknowledged his father, Frank Houston, as a serial pedophile, noting the extent of his offenses would likely remain unknown. Frank’s history of sexual abuse included the victimisation of Brett Sengstock at his home in Coogee during a tour in Australia half a century ago. At the time, Brett was just seven and Houston was a reputable New Zealand preacher and close family friend.

According to trial proceedings, Brian Houston discovered his father’s pedophilic tendencies in late 1999. Defending him, his legal team purported that his lack of prompt reporting could be justified by Mr Sengstock’s preferences. Following his acquittal in August, Houston conveyed his regret for the impacts of his father’s illicit actions, expressing sorrow for the attendant victims.

Prior to this recent court appearance, Houston used his X (formerly Twitter) platform to cryptically communicate about the looming proceedings. He maintained to his 580,000 followers his lifelong dedication to opposing injustice. Further, he revealed that he was in the process of recording his experiences in a narrative, cautioning that it might take time due to the extensive content. In line with his faith, he emphasized his gratitude to God amidst all his trials.