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Australian archbishop begins home detention over sex abuse cover-up

16 August 2018

Former Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson will serve his sentence for concealing historical child sex abuse in home detention.

On Tuesday, Stone allowed Wilson to serve his detention at home after an assessment by prison authorities due to a range of health issues, including heart disease.

Television showed Wilson being driven away from the court in Newcastle, about 170 km (105 miles) north of Sydney.

"I haven't got time for rubbish like you", an abuse victim shouted at Wilson on hearing the news that the cleric was handed home detention.

The former Archbishop's barrister, Mr Ian Temby, QC, said the Archbishop would lodge an appeal against his conviction, but did not apply for bail pending the appeal - clearing the way for Wilson to begin his sentence immediately.

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Newcastle Local Court magistrate Robert Stone ordered Wilson to be detained at his sister's home near Newcastle in New South Wales for at least six months, after which he will be eligible for parole, local media reported.

Fletcher was convicted of nine child sexual abuse charges in 2004, and died in jail in 2006.

Wilson resigned as archbishop of Adelaide in July, two months after being convicted.

Mr Stone said protecting the Catholic Church was the archbishop's "primary motive".

Stone accepted that Wilson was unlikely to re-offend but had to serve a period of detention to act as a deterrence to others.

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He said home detention was an adequate punishment, given Wilson's age, mental and physical conditions and the fact he had previously been of good character.

'Philip, will you say sorry for what you have done to me and other child sex abuse survivors?'

Mr Turnbull, a Catholic who The Advertiser revealed last week had embarked on a one man crusade to have Wilson sacked, welcomed the decision "which belatedly recognises the many calls, including my own, for him to resign". "I'm still here, still hurting. and not a single, solitary word to say sorry", Gogarty told reporters.

During the trial, Wilson denied knowing about any of Fletcher's actions, even though several of Fletcher's victims testified in court that they had reported the abuse to Wilson directly.

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of his post some two weeks ago, following a case which saw an Australian court finding him guilty of perverting the courts of justice.

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Prosecutor Gareth Harrison claimed Wilson had maintained a "cover-up attitude" since 1976 to protect the church's reputation.

Australian archbishop begins home detention over sex abuse cover-up