Australian Court examines the appeal of convicted ex-archbishop Philip Wilson
The defense of the exarzobispo Australian Philip Wilson explained today in the district court of Newcastle, in the south-east of Australia, the appeal against the sentence to a year of house arrest by concealment of pederasty.
The hearing of this day, which will continue tomorrow and to which Wilson did not attend, gathered the dispute between the prosecution and the defense on whether the defendant deliberately concealed sexual abuse or there was a reasonable justification for not going to the police.
Wilson, 68, was found guilty in May of covering up, during a police investigation between 2004 and 2006, the sexual abuse committed by priest James Fletcher against two of his altar boys in the 1970s.
The prelate was sentenced to one year in prison, which in August, was transformed into twelve months of house arrest of which he will have to meet half.
Defense attorney Stephen Odgers told Judge Roy Ellis, who on 22nd accepted the appeal, that forty years ago to convince a minor to perform a sexual act was not considered an assault.
The magistrate replied to the lawyer that, regardless of whether there was an element of force, the sexual acts described by the victim would be considered as aggression even by the legal standards of the seventies.
Who was present at the hearing was the Australian Peter Creigh, one of the two victims of Fletcher, who died in prison in 2006, because the identity of the others has been kept hidden for legal reasons.
Creigh accuses Fletcher of forcing him to perform sexual acts as a form of punishment and claims that he had a conversation with Wilson in which he revealed that situation in 1976.
The Office of the Prosecutor pursues the imprisonment of Wilson, the highest hierarch of the Catholic Church who has been condemned in relation to cases of pedophilia.
An official commission that investigated the response of Australian institutions to cases of pedophilia revealed that the Catholic Church, with strong roots in the country, received complaints from 4,500 people for alleged abuses of some 1,880 religious and priests between 1980 and 2015.
Pope Francis accepted on July 30 the resignation of Wilson as archbishop of Adelaide.