The New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions will not appeal a decision to overturn the conviction of Archbishop Philip Wilson on charges of concealing historical child sexual abuse in the Hunter Valley. Source: ABC News.
The former Adelaide Archbishop’s conviction was overturned by the Newcastle District Court earlier this month.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions has no right of appeal against the dismissal of a charge in these circumstances,” it said in a statement.
“An appeal can only be made on errors of law. After careful consideration, it was decided that there were no reasonable prospects of success of appeal on errors of law.”
The Apostolic Administrator of the Adelaide Archdiocese, Bishop Greg O’Kelly, said he was “delighted at the news”.
“We are very satisfied with the outcome and await the appointment of a new Archbishop of Adelaide,” he said.
“Emeritus Archbishop Wilson, who resigned on July 30, will now have the opportunity to recuperate and gain strength after this ordeal.”
The charges related to an allegation that in 1976, 15-year-old altar boy Peter Creigh went to Fr Philip Wilson on two occasions and told him that four years earlier he had been abused by a fellow priest, James Fletcher.
During court proceedings, Archbishop Wilson’s legal team acknowledged that Mr Creigh had been abused, but continually denied that the clergyman knew of that abuse at the time.
Newcastle Local Court convicted Archbishop Wilson in May of concealing the abuse and he had been serving a minimum sentence of six months in home detention before the conviction was overturned.
Peter Creigh told the ABC it had been a long fight.
“We always knew it was going to be a very difficult case to prove, it is one that had not been tested before, but we should be very proud of what we have been able to achieve and what we have highlighted,” Mr Creigh said.
“It was like a tennis match, we won the first set, they won the second and there was no third set.”
Seeking justice in the public sphere (The Southern Cross)
DPP won’t appeal decision to quash conviction of former archbishop (Sydney Morning Herald)