Michael Ambrose Endicott, a former priest and religious and science teacher at Villanova College in Coorparoo, was last week found guilty of indecently treating a young student by convincing him to strip naked and pose for photographs. Picture: AAP/David Clark
Michael Ambrose Endicott, a former priest and religious and science teacher at Villanova College in Coorparoo, was last week found guilty of indecently treating a young student by convincing him to strip naked and pose for photographs. Picture: AAP/David Clark

Reason why priest’s barrister says conviction must be overturned

A CATHOLIC priest who sexually preyed on a young boy he taught at a private Brisbane boys' school is appealing his conviction, saying his conduct was not illegal at the time.

Michael Ambrose Endicott, a former priest and religious and science teacher at Villanova College in Coorparoo, was last week found guilty of indecently treating a young student by convincing him to strip naked and pose for photographs.

Endicott was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment which will be suspended for two years after he has served six months behind bars.

He immediately lodged an appeal on the basis the evidence was not capable of establishing the offence and claimed the sentence was manifestly excessive.

During sentencing, Judge Leanne Clare slammed Endicott's "manipulation" of the boy who Endicott first indecently treated when the child was only nine years old in 1975.

Ms Holliday said Endicott should not have been convicted of the historical offending because at the time, legislation around indecent dealing did not define taking photographs as illegal.
Ms Holliday said Endicott should not have been convicted of the historical offending because at the time, legislation around indecent dealing did not define taking photographs as illegal.

Endicott first exploited the boy on a school camping trip in 1975, convincing him to go with him to a creek, take off his clothes and pose nude for photographs in an "increasingly confronting" way.

Years later in 1979, when the boy was 12 and in Year eight, Endicott asked him to go with him to the school's flag tower, where he again photographed him naked.

Then in 1981, when the boy was in Year 10 and at a school sports afternoon, Endicott took him to a swimming pool change room, asked him to strip naked and took photos of him showering.

During an appeal bail application made in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday, barrister Deborah Holliday said the application was being made because "exceptional circumstances" could be shown, which should see her client granted bail.

She said the "circumstances" were that the appeal ground was so strong and was likely to succeed.

Ms Holliday said Endicott should not have been convicted of the historical offending because at the time, legislation around indecent dealing did not define taking photographs as illegal.

She said there was "gap" in a 1974 law relating to the offending, which meant the former priest's offending "did not extend to the present circumstances".

She said the phrase "dealt with" was at the time designed to protect children from being indecently assaulted.

"It was not designed, nor does it capture the circumstances of the present case," Ms Holliday said, adding her client may spend time in jail for an offence that "did not exist".

The hearing continues.



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