An Adelaide court is considering whether it can order a paedophile to compensate his abuse survivors in South-East Asia, with the judge suggesting the payments would be an Australian first.

Key points:

  • Geoffrey William Moyle pleaded guilty to offences including nine counts of sexual abuse of children
  • Survivors of Moyle’s attacks in Cambodia could receive compensation
  • Moyle claims he is unable to attend an Adelaide court due to a sore back

Geoffrey William Moyle, 47, has pleaded guilty to 11 offences, including nine counts relating to the sexual abuse of children in Cambodia between 2002 and 2005.

The court heard the children were “forced to be in brothels”.

Moyle is awaiting sentencing in the South Australian District Court, which heard that the Cambodian survivors were seeking compensation from their abuser.

But Judge Paul Cuthbertson said he needed to further examine the law, and the intention of Parliament when laws allowing compensation to be ordered during criminal proceedings were enacted.

He said ordering compensation be sent overseas would likely be an Australian first.

“There haven’t been any cases in Australia, so everyone is coming out of this fresh, and there are a number of issues that I’m wondering about,” he said.

“I’m not saying there isn’t an answer to it somewhere, but I’m not aware of it.”

The court was told the Director of Public Prosecutions would not be asking Judge Cuthbertson to order the survivors be granted compensation because they could launch civil action against their predator.

But Judge Cuthbertson questioned how a poor child from Cambodia would do that.

He added that if he did make an order for compensation, he was unsure how much to award them given $5,000, for example, could be a “fortune” in Cambodia.

Jonathan Wells QC, who is representing one of the survivors for free, told the court that the reason compensation was being sought was because Moyle had assets, including a house in Adelaide.

He asked Judge Cuthbertson to “freeze” those assets until the issue of compensation had been sorted out.

“It ensures there’s not any steps taken to reduce any equity in that property,” he said.

Mr Wells also told the court that his client wanted Moyle to be physically present in court when her impact statement was read to the court.

Moyle has sore back, lawyer claims

State laws allow a victim to request their perpetrator attend court to hear their statement, rather than appear via video-link from jail.

But Heath Barklay QC, for Moyle, told the court that his client had a sore back and could not travel from Mount Gambier Prison to Adelaide to attend court in March.

The District Court building in Adelaide’s CBD.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

Judge Cuthbertson has requested a report from prison authorities to determine if Moyle can travel in a car, rather than a prison van.

In his online profile, which has since been deleted, Moyle stated he worked in Cambodia for a decade as the South-East Asia director of an international engineering consultancy company.

It stated he was “retained” by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as a “specialist” under its Aid Advisory Panel.

But DFAT said he had never worked for the department.

Moyle’s case will be back before the court tomorrow for argument about whether his assets should be frozen.