Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston will face court to fight allegations he covered up his father’s child sexual abuse.
The 68-year-old appeared in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court after pleading not guilty to concealing the serious indictable offence of another person.
Police allege the megachurch founder has known since September 1999 that his father Frank Houston had indecently assaulted a young male in 1970.
Police claim Houston failed to inform authorities despite believing his father had committed the assault and knowing he had information that could be of use to the prosecution.
He is charged with withholding that information from September 15, 1999, to the day after his father’s death on November 8, 2004.
Mr Houston has vehemently denied the allegation, telling the church at the beginning of the year that the charge was a “complete shock” and he was prepared to “vigorously defend it”.
On Thursday, the court was told he would proceed to a special three-week hearing to fight the charge.
The court was told the hearing was set to proceed on December 2 and run until December 22, just before the courts break for Christmas.
The Crown prosecutor requested a remote room for witnesses to give evidence without needing to be present in court, as well as an audio visual link for witnesses who were unable to give evidence in person.
Mr Houston is no longer a pastor at the Hillsong Church, which he founded in the Sydney suburbs in 1983. The church has since expanded to 30 countries.