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Archbishop Wilson to appeal conviction


Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson will challenge his conviction for concealing child sex abuse and says he will only resign if he loses his appeal.

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Wilson, the most senior Catholic official in the world to be found guilty of concealing child sex abuse, confirmed on Wednesday he would lodge an appeal to the NSW District Court.

It comes a day after he was sentenced to 12 months in jail with a six-month non-parole period, but that is likely to be served in home detention.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten have called for Wilson to quit, given the outcome of the case.

The defiant 67-year-old said he took those calls “very seriously”.

“However, at this time, I am entitled to exercise my legal rights and to follow the due process of law,” Wilson said in a statement.

“Since that process is not yet complete, I do not intend to resign at this time. However, if I am unsuccessful in my appeal, I will immediately offer my resignation to the Holy See.”

In the meantime, he has stood aside from all duties.

Wilson was in May found guilty of failing to report to police the historical sexual abuse of two altar boys by a pedophile priest after a landmark magistrate-only trial in Newcastle Local Court.

In handing down his sentence on Tuesday, Magistrate Robert Stone said Wilson’s main motivation had been to protect the church.

“In this case, the offender is a senior figure in one of the most respected institutions in our society,” Mr Stone said.

However, the magistrate ordered Wilson be assessed for an order allowing him to serve his sentence in the community.

The matter is scheduled to return to court on August 14 when the assessment has been completed.


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