Jury told accused priest threw out pills

Russian Orthodox priest Stanislav Vakhabov is on trial for allegedly molesting a boy. (file).A Russian Orthodox priest accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy threw out a rubbish bag containing tablets after he was questioned by police, a Sydney jury has been told.

Stanislav Vakhabov, known as Father Christopher, has pleaded not guilty to detaining the boy for his own sexual gratification, giving him intoxicating substances to make it easier to have unlawful sexual activity and four counts of indecent assault in 2014

The Crown has alleged the now 35-year-old invited the overseas boy to stay with him at his single-bedroom flat on the Croydon church grounds, not informing church authorities.

Giving evidence in the District Court on Tuesday, Deacon Ivan Bots said Vakhabov phoned him about midnight around the middle of 2014 saying he had just got back from the police station after being interrogated.

“Father Christopher sounded concerned and alarmed and so I went in order to provide support and consolation,” he said, speaking through a Russian interpreter.

When the priest came outside, Mr Bots saw he had a packet with him and he said it was his house rubbish that he had decided to take out now.

“I asked him what kind of rubbish as it seemed weird to me that a person would take out his rubbish at one in the morning,” Mr Bots said.

The priest told him it contained some tablets, some packages, and he put it in a bin in front of the church unit.

“I kept on insisting my opinion that maybe that packet should not be placed in the rubbish bin because the package could compromise the church”.

He said Vakhabov then took it out and asked him to drive the priest to a unit where he had stayed with the underage young man and he threw the package in the rubbish in front of that building.

Four days earlier, the priest had asked him to drive to that unit and to take “him and his acquaintance” around the place, saying they had to move out of Croydon because “they were bothering him, not giving him any peace”.

“It was because the young man looked underage and so there was much indignation from the persons at the parish where he was serving,” he said.

Under cross-examination, Mr Bots agreed that in his first police statement made in 2016 he said when he arrived at the property after the midnight call “Father Christopher was outside putting the garbage out at the front of the property”.

“Father Christopher explained he was doing this to take his mind off his problems,” Mr Bots told police.

But it was not until his 2018 statement that Mr Bots referred to the priest saying the rubbish contained “empty medicine or tablet packaging” or that they drove to the other unit or that the priest threw the items away there.

He denied suggestions that those matters did not happen, saying he had forgotten them at the time of the original statement.

The trial is continuing.