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DPP decision signals end of 'ordeal'

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The New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions will not appeal the dismissal of the conviction of Archbishop Philip Wilson on a charge of failing to report historical child sexual abuse in the Hunter Valley.

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The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions issued the following statement on Thursday December 20:

“The Director of Public Prosecutions has no right of appeal against the dismissal of a charge in these circumstances. 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.”

Apostolic Administrator of the Adelaide Archdiocese, Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, said he was “delighted at the news of the positive completion of the legal processes”.

“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.”

He also acknowledged the hurt and suffering of the survivors of child sexual abuse. “It has been an ordeal for all concerned, in particular the victims of acts of abuse whom we encourage to approach whatever healing processes we might offer,” he said.

Earlier this month, Judge Roy Ellis ruled in the Newcastle District Court that the Crown had failed to prove all the essential elements of the Section 316 charged offence and the conviction was quashed.

He said there was “no basis” for rejecting the Archbishop’s evidence. “On the contrary the very honest features of his evidence…provide a strong platform for accepting him as an honest witness.”

In his Christmas message for Sky News, Bishop O’Kelly said Archbishop Wilson had been “completely exonerated” after enduring “humiliation and great pain”, including the loss of his position.

Archdiocese of Adelaide media release

 

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