Latest News

National News

Ex-diplomat sought boys online, court told

Finnin.jpg

John Finnin leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court in Melbourne, Friday, January 11, 2019. The former diplomat was facing a committal mention on child sex charges. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) 

A once senior Australian diplomat has found himself penniless, struggling to find work and charged with grooming a child for sex after allegedly posting a "schoolboys wanted" advertisement.

John Cornelius Finnin, 63, is facing six charges stemming from the post on Craiglist in April 2018, including using a carriage service to procure and groom a child under 16 for sex, and possession of child abuse material.

He's set to return to Melbourne Magistrates Court next month after a brief appearance on Friday.

Court documents allege Finnin advertised himself online as a good-looking, down-to-earth and easy-going guy who was "looking for a young boy on a regular basis for some fun".

The advert details explicitly what is being sought, including "boys with fetishes" and seeks applicants who are "slender and smooth" and "no one under or over 18".

The ad was reported to police and documents reveal an officer posing as a 14-year-old boy then contacted Finnin via Kik Messenger.

It's alleged Finnin was aware the "boy" was only 14, having asked his age and later texting to say "I understand you're nervous. So am I, as you are underage".

In other texts Finnin allegedly wrote "I am a boy lover and your (sic) so my type".

Finnin was arrested during a raid on his Seaford home on September 19, the same day he is said to have asked the boy to video chat.

Police said child pornography was found on the laptop, and in court Finnin made reference to 7000 images.

Message logs of conversations with the undercover officer were also discovered on Finnin's phone and computer, which were seized.

Finnin faced court with a lawyer briefly on Friday morning and later returned, representing himself, to apply to the court to have his laptop and phone returned.

Both items are being leased and Finnin said his financial circumstances meant he could not afford to pay for items he did not have.

Additionally, not having a phone or computer was curtailing his efforts to find work.

"I'm required to use a friend's phone, a family member's or whatever and that wears out pretty quick," he said.

Finnin will have to wait until his next appearance on February 8 for a decision.

"I've waited four months, I can wait another four weeks," he said, leaving court.

© AAP 2019