A NSW judge has quashed former archbishop Philip Wilson’s conviction for covering up child sex abuse by a pedophile priest James Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region to protect the Catholic Church.
Newcastle District Court judge Roy Ellis on Thursday upheld Wilson’s appeal, finding there was reasonable doubt the clergyman had ever committed the crime.
The judge subsequently threw out an appeal by the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions against the leniency of magistrate Robert Stone’s decision to order Wilson to serve 12 months in home detention.
Wilson, 68, had served almost four months of home detention at his sister’s address before winning his appeal on Thursday.
The Catholic Church will consider the ramifications of a court’s decision to quash former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson’s conviction for covering up child sex abuse.
Administrator Delegate of the Adelaide Archdiocese, Philip Marshall, said the church noted the judgment and welcomed the conclusion of a process that had been long and painful for all concerned.
“We now need to consider the ramifications of this outcome,” Fr Marshall said in a statement.
“The survivors of child sexual abuse and their families are in our thoughts and prayers, and the Archdiocese remains committed to providing the safest possible environments for children and vulnerable people in our care.”
Wilson resigned as archbishop in July but remains a bishop in the Catholic Church.