Australian ex-archbishop Philip Wilson avoids jail for child abuse cover up | News | DW | 14.08.2018
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Australian ex-archbishop Philip Wilson avoids jail for child abuse cover up

Former Australian archbishop Philip Wilson was met by outraged victims as he left the courthouse with no jail time. Wilson's conviction was a landmark ruling in Australia that could affect other cases around the country.

An Australian court on Tuesday ruled Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson, the most senior Catholic official to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse, will serve his one-year prison sentence in home detention.

Newcastle Magistrate Robert Stone ordered Wilson to be detained at his sister's house with a non-parole period of at least six months.

Read more: Psychiatrist: Child abuse can cause mental disorders

He will be under strict supervision, and will be required to wear a tracking device that will alert authorities if he leaves the house.

The magistrate's decision was met with outrage by victims who were waiting outside the courthouse.

In May, the court found Wilson guilty of failing to alert police to the repeated abuse of two altar boys by pedophile priest James Fletcher in the state of New South Wales in the 1970s. Wilson was an assistant priest at the time.

Stone found Wilson had shown no remorse or contrition for his actions, and that his primary motive had been to protect the Catholic Church.

Watch video 00:44

Australian archbishop guilty of concealing child abuse

Sentence a deterrent

Stone found that Wilson was unlikely to reoffend ,but that a period of detention was necessary to deter others.

He said home detention was an adequate sentence given Wilson's age and mental and physical condition, and that he had previously been of good character.

Wilson's lawyer, Ian Temby, said Wilson planned to appeal his conviction, but would not be applying for bail.

Wilson resigned as archbishop of Adelaide last month, soon after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the Vatican to fire him. He remains an ordained bishop, but has no official role.

He has repeatedly denied the charges, and initially ignored calls to quit pending an appeal against his conviction.

Australia opened a royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse in 2012, following years of pressure to investigate widespread allegations of institutional pedophilia.

law/kms (AFP, AP)

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