Fos­ter flees to is­land refuge

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - By MATTHEW CON­DON

NO­TO­RI­OUS fugi­tive con­man Peter Fos­ter, sen­tenced last week to three years’ jail for con­tempt of court, has fled Aus­tralia.

In an au­da­cious bid for free­dom, Fos­ter, 51, dis­guised and trav­el­ling on a false pass­port, ar­rived early yes­ter­day in Fiji, where he will seek a pro­tec­tion visa.

Fos­ter— who first got into strife in 2002 when a Dar­win busi­ness­man lodged a com­plaint af­ter he paid $30,000 for a fran­chise to sell TRIMit pills — re­fused to say how he got out of the coun­try.

‘‘I won’t dis­cuss with you how I made it here. I have to get a few things set­tled. I did dis­guise my­self to a cer­tain de­gree but that’s all I’m pre­pared to say,’’ he said. ‘‘Fiji is my ver­sion of Ron­nie Biggs’ Brazil.’’

Fos­ter said his es­cape had left him ex­hausted.

‘‘There is a sense of ex­hil­a­ra­tion,’’ he said. ‘‘But I’ve left a beau­ti­ful home and a beau­ti­ful fam­ily now. I’m a stranger again. It’s hard to cel­e­brate. I know I should be happy but I’m not. I just feel in­cred­i­ble sad­ness.’’

Last Thurs­day Jus­tice Lo­gan in the Bris­bane Dis­trict Court sen­tenced Fos­ter to three years’ jail on two charges of con­tempt of court re­lat­ing to the scam diet spray Sen­saslim.

Fos­ter had been on the run since Septem­ber 27 af­ter Jus­tice Lo­gan found the self­pro­claimed ‘‘in­ter­na­tional man of mis­chief’’ guilty of con­tempt.

Fos­ter vowed to ap­pear in court for sen­tenc­ing last Thurs­day af­ter he had put plans in place for the care of his ail­ing mother Louise.

In the end, Fos­ter failed to show, and was sen­tenced to three years’ jail in ab­sen­tia.

Fos­ter in­di­cated he had been plan­ning a pos­si­ble es­cape for six months.

Jus­tice Lo­gan’s de­ci­sion on Fos­ter and the ACCC case against him took 12 months.

‘‘If the judge had given me three months, which in it­self is se­vere for a con­tempt charge, I prob­a­bly would’ve served it,’’ he said. ‘‘There isn’t a lawyer you could ring in Bris­bane who wouldn’t say the sen­tence was sav­age and wouldn’t stand up on ap­peal . . . As far as I’m con­cerned, Jus­tice Lo­gan can shove it up his jacksy.’’

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