Former Archbishop Wilson to serve six months home detention

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Adelaide’s former Archbishop Philip Wilson

The former Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has been ordered to serve his sentence for concealing historical child sex abuse in home detention.

He was convicted in May of covering up sexual abuse of a minor by Catholic priest Fr Jim Fletcher in the NSW Hunter Valley region in the 1970s.

In July he was sentenced by Magistrate Robert Stone of the Newcastle Local Court to 12 months’ detention with a six-month non-parole period following his conviction.

However the Court indicated it would consider whether he could serve his sentence in home detention or be remanded to prison.

Since then, he has remained on bail while he and his sister’s home were assessed.

He must wear a tracking device as part of his sentence and will become eligible for parole on 13 February 2019.

At the time of his conviction Archbishop Wilson’s lawyer informed the court he intended to lodge an appeal application against the cleric’s conviction.

The Archbishop, 67, offered his resignation to Pope Francis on 20 July, with Pope Francis’s acceptance of the resignation being announced by the Vatican on 30 July.

Throughout his trial and afterwards, Archbishop Wilson has vigorously protested his innocence and indicated he would appeal.

He is believed to be the first Catholic prelate in Australia and the most senior Catholic Church official in the world to be convicted and sentenced for the crime of covering up sexual abuse of a minor.

Archbishop Wilson was Bishop of Wollongong from 1996 to 2001 and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference from 2006 to 2010.