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Former Adelaide Archbishop's appeal to be heard in October


Former Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson’s appeal against his conviction for covering up child sex abuse in the NSW Hunter region will be heard in October.

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Wilson’s case was mentioned briefly for the first time in Newcastle District Court today, a fortnight after being told he could serve a 12-month jail term in home detention.

Judge Roy Ellis has set down two days for hearings in October.

Wilson, 67, who did not have to appear in court today, lodged the appeal papers on August 14 immediately after he was ordered to stay at his sister’s home near Newcastle for at least six months until he was eligible for parole.

Newcastle Local Court magistrate Robert Stone said Wilson’s home detention would be under strict supervision and he would have to wear a tracking device.

Wilson resigned as Archbishop of Adelaide after becoming the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse.

Stone found Wilson guilty in May during a landmark magistrate-only trial of failing to report to police the repeated abuse of two altar boys by pedophile priest James Fletcher.

Fletcher was found guilty of child sexual abuse in 2004 and died in jail of a stroke in 2006.

Wilson refused to quit for two months following his conviction, saying he wanted to wait for the outcome of his appeal.

But under mounting pressure from child abuse victims and Catholic priests to resign, and calls from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the Pope to sack him, Wilson offered up his resignation as a ”catalyst to heal pain and distress”.

Stone found Wilson had shown no remorse or contrition for the cover-up and his primary motive had been to protect the Catholic Church.

The magistrate accepted Wilson was unlikely to re-offend but had to serve a period of detention to act as a deterrence to others.

He said home detention was an adequate punishment, given Wilson’s age, mental and physical conditions and the fact he had previously been of good character.


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