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Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Sex tourist jailed in Australia

None of the victims were traced

By Rob Minshull in Perth, Western Australia

A 45-year-old man has become the first person to be sentenced in Australia for sexually abusing children abroad.

John Arthur Lee was jailed for 14 years under a law passed in 1994 which allows Australian courts to prosecute sex crimes committed abroad.

After spending two years in jail waiting for the trial, it took the jury only one day to find him guilty.

Lee had spent two months in Cambodia featuring in his own pornographic photography sessions.

He was convicted on one count of sexual intercourse and eight counts of indecent dealings with underage girls.

Vital forensic evidence

The case set a precedent in that Lee was convicted of offences committed outside Australia.

But it was also unusual because the prosecution, having no witnesses and no testimony from the victims, had to rely exclusively on a series of photographs and undeveloped film seized from Lee.

The photographs showed him having sex with young girls, but because his face did not appear in any of the pictures, forensic experts were called in to prove it was him.

Australian police travelled to Cambodia but were unable to locate any of the victims.

What they did do was match the wallpaper and furniture in the photographs with those in the hotels where Lee stayed.

Paediatric experts said most of the girls in the photographs were all under the age of 16, and at least one was as young as 11.

When Lee got back to Australia after his holiday, he showed the photographs to a friend who informed the police.



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Internet Links


Western Australia Ministry of Justice

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Unicef Convention on Child Rights

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Exploited Child Unit: Sex Tourism


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