DPP appeals “inadequacy” of ex-archbishop Wilson sentence

Philip Wilson was convicted of concealing child sex abuse and sentenced to home detention.

Philip Wilson was convicted of concealing child sex abuse and sentenced to home detention. Photo: AAP

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing the “inadequacy” of a home detention sentence handed to former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson after he concealed child sexual abuse in the Hunter region.

Wilson, 67, resigned as archbishop after becoming the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world to be convicted of concealing child sex abuse earlier this year.

Wilson covered up the crimes of pedophile priest James Fletcher, who was found guilty of child sexual abuse in 2004 and died in jail of a stroke in 2006.

Wilson was handed a year of home detention in August and ordered to stay at his sister’s home near Newcastle for at least six months until he was eligible for parole.

He immediately launched an appeal against his conviction.

The Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide Bishop Greg O’Kelly addresses the media after Philip Wilson’s resignation on July 31. Photo: AAP

The DPP on Thursday said it had lodged an appeal “against the inadequacy of the sentence”.

Magistrate Robert Stone in mid-August 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 said he had to serve a period of detention to act as a deterrence to others.

As the disgraced clergyman left court to begin his home detention, one of Fletcher’s victims, Peter Gogarty, asked for an apology.

Abuse victim Peter Gogarty asked Wilson for an apology outside court in August. Photo: AAP

”Philip, will you say sorry for what you have done to me and other child sex abuse survivors? Philip, please, something, one word of contrition Philip?”

Wilson held off resigning for months after being found guilty of his crime in May but eventually stepped down because he wanted to offer a “catalyst to heal pain and distress”.

The DPP’s appeal is expected to be mentioned in Newcastle District Court on September 13.


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