Australian faces child sex tourism charges

45-year-old man appears in Brisbane court after allegedly arranging for his 13-year-old son to visit a prostitute in Thailand

An Australian man has been charged with child sex tourism offences in his home country after allegedly arranging for his 13-year-old son to visit a prostitute while on holiday in Thailand.

An Australian man has been charged with child sex tourism offences in his home country after allegedly arranging for his 13-year-old son to visit a prostitute while on holiday on Koh Samui last year. (File photo)

It is the first time that laws to stop Australian paedophiles from harming foreign children have been used in such a way, so is being seen as a test case for future prosecutions, according to Brisbane newspaper The Courier Mail.

Police claim the offences took place on Koh Samui in September last year.

Queensland's Police Service Child Protection Investigation Unit charged the 45-year-old man last month and he yesterday faced Brisbane Magistrates Court on two counts of sex offences, which carry maximum penalties of 20 years in jail. 

One charge alleges that he caused a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual intercourse outside Australia, and the other that he procured a child to engage in sexual activity outside his place of residence.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also charged with assaulting his son in Australia in February this year.

The father of a 13-year-old boy who allegedly visited a prostitute in Thailand arrives at court in Australia. (Photo: The Courier-Mail)

Queensland criminal lawyer Bill Potts, who is not representing the man, described the prosecution as "very unique".

Mr Potts said Australia's child sex tourism laws were designed to stop vulnerable children in Asia from being exploited.

"The legislation was brought in to give extra-territorial power to Commonwealth criminal law," he said. "What it means is that it doesn't matter where an offence occurs - if an Australian citizen commits an illegal act in a foreign place, they are deemed to have committed an offence under Australian law and can be punished here.

"People have to be increasingly aware, particularly in matters of morality and sexual offending, that the long arm of the Australian law can extend to wherever in the world an offence takes place."

Mr Potts added that a father introducing his teenage son to sexual activity cannot be justified as simply a "rite of passage".

"The age of consent is 16 because the law recognises that children need to be protected," he said.

The man and his lawyer declined to comment outside court, where the charges were adjourned until April 24.

Related search: Thailand, Koh Samui, Australian, paedophile, sex tourism, Bill Potts

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