Hillsong founder and high-profile evangelist Brian Houston spent $1m defending himself against the allegation he concealed his father’s sexual abuse of a young boy. The 69-year-old stood trial earlier this year after pleading not guilty to one count of concealing the serious indictable offence of his late father, Frank Houston. The former pastor denied he had covered up his father’s sexual abuse of a young boy in Sydney in the 1970s by failing to tell police about the crime. Mr Houston was acquitted in August, but his legal team returned to court on Thursday in a bid to recoup the cost of his hefty legal bill. The court was told the high-profile preacher amassed $1m in legal fees over the 15-day defended hearing. Magistrate Gareth Christofi noted it was “a large amount of money”, even when taking into consideration the substantial amount of material and the complexity of the matter. However, Mr Houston’s lawyer Phillip Boulten SC said the intricacies of the historical allegations laid against his client required significant assessment and investigation. “Every single cent has been time costed. It is accounted for in the bills by time increments,” he said. “I reject completely the suggestion that appearing for Brian Houston was a straightforward legal matter.” During his trial, the court was told the Pentecostal preacher learnt of his father’s pedophilia in late 1999. He found out Frank Houston had sexually abused Brett Sengstock in his family’s Coogee home 20 years earlier when the boy was seven years old. The younger Mr Houston’s legal team successfully argued he had a “reasonable excuse” not to come forward because he believed Mr Sengstock didn’t want the abuse reported to police. Mr Boulten argued the prosecution should never have run the case against his client because it had not excluded the possibility Mr Houston was respecting the victim’s wishes by not going to police. He noted a “central witness”, who had been present at a pivotal meeting between Mr Houston and his father’s victim, was not called by the Crown to give evidence. The court was told the man refused to testify. “The prosecution made a call not to go there and to rely solely on Mr Sengstock and that, in my submission, was an unreasonable decision,” Mr Boulten said. He slammed the prosecution for being “blind” to the issues in their case, which “never got any better”. “Your Honour asked the prosecutor on the first day: ‘Is this a reasonable excuse?’,” Mr Boulten said. “It was and it was proven to be.” Crown prosecutor Cate Dodds rejected the suggestion the prosecution’s case was doomed to fail and maintained Mr Houston should not be awarded costs. If he was successful, she submitted his compensation should be calculated according to the Attorney-General’s rates for legal representation. Mr Boulten hotly declared there was “not one single person” who charged those rates, which he claimed were “deliberately calculated to be significantly less than the market rate”. Mr Houston will learn the outcome of his application for costs when Mr Christofi hands down his decision in March next year. After he was acquitted, the former pastor said he felt “relief that the truth has come out” about his late father. “He was obviously a serial pedophile,” he said outside court in September. “We will probably never know the extent of his pedophilia.” The 69-year-old also expressed his concern for his father’s victim, Mr Sengstock. “A lot of people have been hurt, and for that I am very sad,” he said.