Philip Wilson © Darren Pateman
With prosecutors waiving further appeals, Adelaide Archbishop Emeritus Philip Wilson is finally a free man. Wilson had most recently been cleared of charges of covering up abuse cases.
His guilt, according to the reasoning in the appeal proceedings in early December, was not proven beyond doubt. A further appeal is now only possible because of legal procedural errors, Australian broadcaster ABC reports (Thursday). However, according to a statement by the public prosecutor's office, these were not given.
The interim head of the Archdiocese of Adelaide, Bishop Greg O'Kelly, welcomed the renunciation of the appointment. "We are pleased with the outcome and look forward to the appointment of a new Archbishop of Adelaide," the Apostolic Administrator told ABC.
Guilty in the first instance
In May, Archbishop Wilson became the highest-ranking Catholic cleric in the world to date to be found guilty by a secular court of covering up the sexual abuse of boys by a priest as a young priest in the diocese of Newcastle some four decades ago. In the judgment it was said that the main motive for the cover-up was the protection of the church.
Wilson had shown neither "remorse nor penitence" at trial.
At the end of July, Wilson resigned as Archbishop of Adelaide under prere from then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and much of the public. He had already rested his office after his conviction in the first instance.