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Former RC Archbishop of Adelaide has conviction for concealing child sexual abuse overturned

14 December 2018

PA

The former Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Revd Philip Wilson, leaves a local court in Newcastle, Adelaide, in August, after the original conviction

The former Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Revd Philip Wilson, leaves a local court in Newcastle, Adelaide, in August, after the original conviction

THE former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Revd Philip Wilson, has had his conviction for concealing child sexual abuse overturned on appeal.

The New South Wales District Court Judge Roy Ellis rejected substantial elements of the case against the Archbishop, and questioned the accuracy of a key witness’s evidence.

Bishop Wilson, who resigned from the archbishopric in July after his conviction, was believed to be the most senior RC cleric to be convicted of concealing child sexual abuse (News, 25 May). Sentenced to 12 months’ home detention, he watched the decision via an audio video link from his sister’s home on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Judge Ellis found that the former Archbishop gave “very honest and forthright” evidence. It was not his place, the judge said, “to punish the Catholic Church for its institutional moral deficits”, or to punish the Archbishop for the sins of the now deceased priest.

The Archbishop had, the judge said, “the same legal rights as every other person in our community”.

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