Former Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson has conviction for concealing child sex crimes overturned

FORMER Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson has successfully appealed his conviction for concealing child sex abuse in a New South Wales court.

The 68-year-old had his conviction quashed on appeal in a Newcastle court on Thursday.

Father Wilson was found guilty in May of failing to report the historical assault of two altar boys in the 1970s and 80s and was sentenced to a minimum six months home detention.


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He was the most senior catholic official in the world to be convicted of concealing sex crimes involving a priest.

At the time, Newcastle Local Court heard that, in 1976, a victim confided in Father Wilson that he had been sexually abused by paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter Valley.

The court, however, heard the Adelaide Archbishop failed to report the allegations to police when Fletcher was charged with other child sex offences in 2004.

Judge Roy Ellis on Thursday said the crown failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and added Father Wilson was an “honest and consistent” witness.

“There were very honest features of his evidence to provide a strong platform for him to be an honest witness,” Judge Ellis said.

“There is no proper basis on which I can rely to reject the evidence of the appellant.”

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