Foster flees to island refuge
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.’’