An Australian man accused of sexually abusing at least 11 young girls in Bali has been allowed to address the media after appearing briefly before the Denpasar District Court.
Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis, 70, was due to be sentenced on Tuesday, although the hearing was adjourned and rescheduled for next Tuesday.
Prosecutors have asked he be jailed for 16 years for allegedly sexually abusing the girls aged between seven and 17.
In a bizarre press conference held at the court, the accused insisted on his innocence.
“I have my doubts that the prosecutors here are properly qualified.”
“I know for certain that I haven’t done anything serious enough to be imprisoned, no sexual relations with any of the girls.”
But Ellis, who is accused of carrying out the abuse over a two-year period, admitted he had paid the young girls to bath them at his home and he only later found out it was a crime.
“Try and interview the girls if you can, try and interview the girls and see if they want me in here being punished,” he said.
Mr Ellis said he paid the alleged victims “generously” to give them mandi — the Indonesian word for bath.
“I gave them mandi,” he said.
“We’d negotiate a price 200,000 or 300,000 Rupiah ($A20-$A30) if you had mandi, if you don’t want it it’s ok.”
Mr Ellis told the press the parents of the girls did not know what he was doing until after he was arrested.
“I just put soap all over them, no sexual relations with them. They were only young girls.”</p> <p>
Last week the Indonesian Parliament passed controversial chemical castration laws, allowing judges to pass on the penalty for child sex offenders.
But Mr Ellis’s lawyer Yanur Nahak said that punishment could not apply in his case.
Under the new laws, child sex offenders could also be sentenced to death if found guilty.