Hillsong founder denied payout over failed abuse case

Hillsong founder 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.

The 70-year-old was cleared in August of concealing a serious indictable offence for not reporting his father Frank Houston's abuse of Brett Sengstock to police.

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

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

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

Lawyers for Mr 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.

Mr Christofi said it was appropriate to litigate Mr 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."

Mr Houston did not report his father to police after he admitted in 1999 to abusing Mr Sengstock as a child.

The former leader of the international mega-church has said in the past he feels genuine sadness about what the elder Houston did to Mr Sengstock and others, describing his father as a serial child abuser.

"We probably will never know the extent of his pedophilia," Mr Houston previously said.

"But I am not my father, I did not commit this offence."

Frank Houston died in 2004.

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