Notorious serial conman Peter Foster has fled to Fiji after being sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for contempt of court in relation to his involvement in weight loss business SensaSlim.
Foster will serve 18 months of his sentence in prison, with the other 18 months of his sentence suspended, when arrested.
The Federal Court found Foster guilty of contempt of court last month and also banned him from any involvement in the weight loss, cosmetic or health industry for a further three years.
Foster was not present at his sentencing hearing on Thursday, telling Justice John Logan in a letter his legal counsel delivered he’d believed the court date was October 28.
Foster has been on the run from police since he was found guilty on September 27 of contempt of court and on Saturday he arrived in Fiji using a false passport and dressed in disguise, according to an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail.
“If the judge had given me three months, which in itself is severe for a contempt charge, I probably would have served it,” Foster said in the interview.
“This is not about avoiding jail time. This is bigger than me. It’s about my mother. She will not spend the twilight days of her life in a nursing home. She will spend it being cared for by me and she will spend it with a cool sea breeze in her hair, in the share of a coconut palm.”
Foster will seek a protection visa in Fiji.
A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told SmartCompany this morning there were no new developments and Foster remains at large.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement the decision shows the Court regards “breaches of court orders very seriously”.
The court found Foster was directly and knowingly involved in the conduct of weight loss business SensaSlim from late 2009, in breach of previous orders which had banned him from being involved in any weight loss business for five years.
When speaking to The Sunday Mail Foster said Logan’s sentence of three years imprisonment had called for desperate action.
“As far as I’m concerned, Justice Logan can shove it up his jacksie,” he said.
“The steps I put in place to leave were always a ‘in a case of emergency, break glass’ situation. As it was this judge broke the glass for me when he handed down probably the highest sentence of contempt of court ever in this country and for one of the most insignificant contempts ever.”
Foster has a colourful history of illegal misconduct and has been investigated for a variety of offences, including fraud in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Fiji. He has been imprisoned in three continents.
He was also sentenced to six weeks in prison in early 2007 in Vanuatu for entering the country without a valid visa.
When deciding upon his latest penalty, Justice Logan found the case was “extremely serious” and said it was “difficult to envisage a more flagrant and deliberate breach”.
Logan said Foster was “utterly without remorse or contrition”.
The ACCC first launched action against SensaSlim in July 2011 for misleading and deceptive conduct and for making false representations in regard to the identity of Sensaslim officers.