The Australian [Surry Hills, Australia]
March 26, 2021
By Heath Parkes-Hupton
A former priest and Labor Party branch president’s sentence for the sick exploitation of children in southeast Asia has been delayed due to a prison strike.
Peter Andrew Hansen has pleaded guilty to 31 offences, including one of sexual intercourse with a child under 18, and 15 counts of producing child abuse material after being caught with the vile videos in 2018.
Hansen admitted to filming sexual videos of young boys in Vietnam and the Philippines while living overseas, with the earliest offences coming in 2014.
The depraved cache of meticulously filed material was discovered by Border Force officers on a hard drive after Hansen was stopped on arrival at Sydney Airport on October 6, 2018.
On Friday Judge James Bennett was preparing to begin his judgment at Parramatta District Court when proceedings hit an unforeseen snag.
The court was told prison staff at Goulburn jail, where Hansen is being held, had walked off the job just as the judge was about to come onto the bench at about 12.30pm.
That meant the child abuser could not be brought up on screen via the court’s video link system as there were no staff on the jail’s end to escort him to the video suite or answer the online call.
“There’s been a walkout in Goulburn and we’re not going to get anyone up on screen,” Judge Bennett told the court before adjourning.
At a sentence hearing last month the one-time Fairfield Council candidate and head of the Labor Party’s Cabramatta branch told the court he was “ashamed” of himself, saying he exploited the children for his own sexual gratification.
The 63-year-old, who served as a Catholic priest in Melbourne between 1996 and 2011, said he had fallen short of not only the community’s standards but also his own.
“I didn’t only exploit their age, I exploited the fact they came from a poor Asian country,” he told the court. “I not only contravened society’s standards … I also used and manipulated to my own advantage a power imbalance between me and them.”
Court documents revealed Border Force officers in 2018 found videos depicting underage male children who were “instructed to remove their clothing and perform sexual acts on themselves and other children”.
A title page aired prior to the video beginning listed the name and ages of the children, revealing them to be between 12 and 15 years old, the court was told.
The offence of producing child abuse material carries a maximum term of 10 years in jail.
Judge Bennett reserved two days for Hansen’s sentence, which is set down for April 29 and 30.
Heath Parkes-Hupton is a court reporter with NCA NewsWire, joining the organisation at its launch in June 2020. In that time he has delved into Sydney’s court system and covered national breaking news.