An Australian court has overturned the conviction of a former archbishop who was the world’s most senior Catholic cleric held guilty of concealing child sex abuse.
The court said today that the prosecutors failed to prove their case against 68-year-old Philip Wilson, beyond reasonable doubt.
Wilson was charged with concealing crimes by late paedophile priest Jim Fletcher in the Hunter region of New South Wales in the 1970s.
Wilson was sentenced to 12-month imprisonment in May, becoming one of the highest-ranked Australian church officials convicted of covering up child sex abuse.
“There is no proper basis upon which I can rely to reject the evidence of the appellant,” Judge Roy Ellis said before he handed down the ruling.
According to Al Jazeera News, the judge noted “inconsistencies” with the accuser’s statements regarding an alleged conversation he had with Wilson about the abuse.
Wilson resigned as Archbishop of Adelaide in July after then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on the Vatican to sack him.