China specialist on sex charges

One of the country's leading experts in Australia-China business relations has appeared in a Perth court accused of attempting to procure sex from a 14-year-old girl.

Duncan Calder, 50, who this year accompanied Prime Minister Tony Abbott on his trade mission to China, is accused of encouraging the teenager to commit an indecent act in January 2008.

He is also accused of attempting to solicit a prostitute last month, when he was picked up by WA police. He was charged by child abuse squad officers with both offences on June 26.

Mr Calder, who is also a partner and boss of the forensic services team at KPMG, attempted to cover his face with a hooded jacket and backpack as he entered court yesterday.

He said nothing during the brief hearing and was bailed to appear in September.

Chief Magistrate Steven Heath allowed an application by lawyer David Manera to relax Mr Calder's bail to allow him to fly interstate for work commitments.

He was required to surrender his passport to authorities and will not be allowed near Perth International Airport while on bail.

A condition that he has no unauthorised contact with anyone under 16 was also eased so Mr Calder would be able to spend time with his 12-year-old son.

Mr Calder offered his resignation as national president of the Australia China Business Council yesterday and it was accepted.

He was one of the hand-picked delegates who accompanied Mr Abbott on his trip in April, when the Prime Minister discussed a potential free-trade agreement between the two nations.

Mr Calder is also on the board of the Film and Television Institute of WA and has been a member of the WA fundraising appeal committee for the Olympics and Commonwealth Games teams.

He was also on the board of Parkerville Children and Youth Care, which cares for vulnerable children in the community.

The West Australian

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