Convicted paedophiles who allegedly conspired to commit child sex offences in Thailand believed people there would be more accepting of their criminal past than in Australia, a Perth court has been told.
Robert Gordon Cummins, 47, today gave his third day of evidence in the Supreme Court trial of Mark Pendleton and Kenneth William Bishop, who have each pleaded not guilty to conspiring to have sex with a child under 16 outside Australia.
Cummins, who received a discounted sentence after he pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities, told the court he contacted a number of Thai women through dating website’s as part of the trio’s alleged conspiracy.
He admitted he disclosed his past convictions for child sex offences to some of the women to test how the men would be “accepted” in Thailand.
“We believed they’d be more accepting in that society that over here,” he told the court.
“It was also about testing the water to see how they would react.”
The Commonwealth alleges the men plotted to set up a business in northern Thailand employing local woman as a “front” to gain access to children and commit child sex offences.
Cummins met and befriended Mr Pendleton in 2005 in a sex offender treatment program in prison. He met Mr Bishop, who was friends with Mr Pendleton, when all three were at Karnet Prison Farm.
Cummins maintained he, Mr Pendleton and Mr Bishop planned to go to Thailand after they were released from prison so they could offend against children.
He denied a suggestion by Mr Pendleton’s defence lawyer David McKenzie that they planned to go to Thailand not to offend against children, but simply to start a new life.
Cummins is expected to continue his evidence tomorrow.