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Former Australian archbishop acquitted of child abuse cover-up

IANS  |  Sydney 

An on Thursday overturned former of Australia Philip Wilson's conviction for covering up cases of to protect the Church.

The also revoked his one-year sentence which he had been serving in home detention, news reported.

Wilson, 68, became the world's most senior Catholic to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse when his trial ended in May. A police investigation earlier this year found Wilson guilty of covering up sexual abuse of two altar boys by in the 1970s.

Fletcher was convicted of the abuse in 2004 and died in prison two years later.

At the earlier trial, said Wilson had stayed silent about the abuse out of a desire to protect the Church's reputation. He then avoided jail after his conviction and was serving home detention.

Wilson later launched an appeal during which was asked to consider whether prosecutors had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Wilson had failed to report allegations against Fletcher after the had been charged.

Ellis upheld Wilson's appeal on Thursday and quashed the sentence given by a lower court, the report said.

The said prosecutors were unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt the culpability of the accused and called the former an "honest and consistent witness".

"There is no proper basis on which I can rely to reject the evidence of (Father Wilson)," Ellis said, according to national broadcaster

Wilson had said during the trial that he did not remember the victims complaining to him about the abuse.

The prosecutors, who had also filed a petition for Wilson to be transferred to a prison, did not comment whether they would challenge the verdict.

into Institutional Responses to reported that the received complaints from 4,500 people for alleged abuses committed by some 1,880 priests between 1980 and 2015.

On July 30, Pope had accepted Wilson's resignation as the of



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First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 13:40 IST