An Australian man has been sentenced to 11 years in jail in Timor Leste after he was convicted of abusing a girl under the age of 12.

Robert Trott, 76, was found guilty on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor by a panel of judges at a court in the capital Dili.

But in an unusual move, he walked free from the courthouse, with the judges allowing him to remain in the community with a 30-day deadline to lodge an appeal.

Trott denied the accusations, and after the verdict said he was “a victim of persecution and racism”.

He said he would appeal and present new evidence.

Trott is originally from Adelaide but last lived in Darwin, where he managed a pub in the suburb of Rapid Creek.

He has spent most of the past 12 years living in Timor Leste, one of the most economically impoverished countries in South-East Asia.

Trott’s victim cannot be named.

Robert Trott is a well-known figure in Timor Leste’s expat community. (Supplied)

A legal firm JU, S Juridico Social represented the victim and said Trott originally faced 100 counts of abuse spanning a five-year period starting when the victim was seven or eight years old.

In a statement, the lawyers said the facts of the case proven in court revealed Trott showed the victim pornography and regularly committed acts of a sexual nature.

“We are satisfied with the guilty verdict and we congratulate the capacity of the judiciary in weighing the evidence presented,” said Adelina Meluk Lobu, the lawyer for the victim.

However, the lawyers said they believed the punishment did not adequately reflect the severity of the crimes, and they expressed concern that allowing Trott to remain in the community created a flight risk.

“We trust that the prosecution and the police will monitor his movements to … ensure that the convicted foreigner does not leave the country,” said Olivia Barrow Afonso, another lawyer with JU, S Juridico Social.

Robert Trott was charged with sexually abusing a girl in Timor-Leste over a number of years. (Supplied)

Trott was first arrested in Dili in 2022, with authorities acting on a complaint made by an Australian citizen to the Australian Federal Police.

But he was released within days and the investigation stalled until late last year when charges were announced.

His passport was confiscated during the investigation.

The ABC contacted police in Timor Leste for comment.

Well-known figure

Trott is well known among the small expatriate community in Dili and several Australians who knew him told the ABC he was a charismatic personality.

He was said to speak fluent Indonesian after living there previously, and in Timor Leste, he had worked in several roles including political advisor, while more recently he started a kebab shop, run by local staff.

The ABC understands Trott had been on the AFP’s radar for several years, and AFP officers stationed in Dili attended the hearing for the verdict.

Court hearings for the case began in January but Trott successfully sought several delays on medical grounds.

He earlier told the ABC he had a brain tumour, and he remained on bail living in Dili throughout the five-month process.

The 11-year sentence is the second longest sentence given to a foreigner for child abuse crimes in Timor Leste.

In 2021, American priest Richard Daschbach was sentenced to 12 years for the abuse of four girls at an orphanage.

Daschbach is imprisoned in Dili’s Becora prison, where Trott would likely also be jailed if his appeal was unsuccessful.

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