Preacher John McMartin fights indecent assault conviction

The West Australian/Perth Now [Perth, Australia]

June 19, 2023

By Steve Zemek

An evangelical pastor and former TV preacher is attempting to have his conviction quashed after he was last year found guilty of indecently assaulting a young woman while giving her a massage at his southwestern Sydney home.

John McMartin was earlier this year handed a 16-month suspended prison sentence, to be served by way of an intensive corrections order, after being found guilty of one count of indecent assault following a Local Court hearing. McMartin plead not guilty to the charge and has denied he touched the woman in a sexual manner.

McMartin, founder of the Liverpool-based Pentecostal Inspire Church, on Monday briefly appeared before NSW District Court for an appeal against both his conviction and sentence.

Defence barrister Philip Strickland SC told the court that one of the grounds of appeal related to the complainant’s evidence.

Mr Strickland argued that her version of events had changed over several statements made over seven years.-

The court was told the incident occurred at McMartin’s Pleasure Point home in January 2013 and several days later the then 19-year-old woman complained to a pastor before making a written complaint to the Australian Christian Churches.

The court was told on Monday that statement was later retracted before a complaint was made to the police in 2020.

Mr Strickland told the court that the woman’s statement to police omitted key allegations, including that McMartin rubbed her genitals and squeezed her breasts.

He also argued that magistrate Peter Thompson also erred in making negative findings about McMartin’s demeanour and behaviour during a hearing in the Local Court last year.

The court was previously told the woman accepted his offer of a massage before, she alleges, he put his hands under her shirt.

McMartin pleaded not guilty and denied touching the woman in a sexual manner.

The matter will return to court on Tuesday for an appeal hearing before Judge Andrew Scotting.

Originally published as Preacher John McMartin fights indecent assault conviction