ABC Online Australia
07 December 2015
Photo: Archbishop Philip Wilson has pleaded not guilty to concealing child sexual abuse. (AAP: Alan Porritt, file photo)
Adelaide’s Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson paid off an abuse victim, demonstrating a tendency of trying to make abuse matters go away, Newcastle Local Court has heard.
The court has begun hearing a stay of proceedings application by Wilson, the most senior Catholic clergyman in the world charged with concealing child sexual abuse.
The court was told the child sexual abuse cover-up charge laid against Wilson was invalid as there was no evidence the offence he is accused of concealing ever happened.
Wilson has pleaded not guilty to concealing the serious indictable offence of the now-dead paedophile priest James Fletcher in the 1970s.
The crown asked to admit tendency evidence in a bid to show Wilson’s alleged actions were not isolated.
Prosecutor Gareth Harrison alleged Wilson was involved in paying a woman an amount of money so an allegation of indecent assault would go away.
Wilson’s lawyer Ian Temby QC spent the day arguing for a stay of proceedings, saying his client would not get a fair trial.
Mr Temby said there was a lack of what he termed “proof of knowledge” in relation to his client, and said the crown needed something more than mere suspicion.
He said a permanent stay of proceedings was warranted because suspicion of a crime was not enough.
Mr Temby said the concealment charge was legally invalid because it was impossible to prove Fletcher committed the indictable offence.
If successful the application would mean a hearing would never go ahead.
Mr Temby told the court that delays in the case were unprecedented, and that proceedings were doomed to fail.
He said a continuation of proceedings was an abuse of the court’s processes and argued a permanent stay of proceedings was warranted, given that 45 years have passed since Fletcher’s alleged offence.
The court heard the Cessnock-born Wilson was told about the Fletcher incident five years after it happened.
Mr Temby argued Wilson was not complicit in the incident, nor was he a witness to it.
Magistrate Robert Stone will make a ruling later this month.
Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson.
THE “extraordinary” police case against Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson is both unprecedented and “foredoomed to fail”, a court heard this morning.
An application to grant a permanent stay on proceedings against Wilson got under way in the Newcastle Local Court in NSW on Tuesday, with Wilson’s barrister, Ian Temby QC, arguing there were no grounds for the case to proceed to trial.
Wilson is the highest ranking member of the Catholic Church to be charged with concealing child sex offences.
Police allege a teenage victim of paedophile priest Jim Fletcher told Wilson in 1976 about his abuse – five years after the incident took place in Newcastle.
Fletcher was convicted of child sex offences in 2004 and died in jail in 2006.
Police charged Wilson in March this year, alleging that when aged 25 and a newly ordained priest in 1976, he concealed the serious indictable offence of another person.
Character evidence will be produced in case against Philip Wilson
Newcastle Court has been told evidence relating to the character of Adelaide Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson will be produced in his trial for concealing child sexual abuse.
Wilson was not in court today, as his barrister Simon Buchen and the Crown gave an update of proceedings.
Wilson has already pleaded not guilty to concealing the serious indictable offence of another person.
That person is the dead paedophile Hunter Valley priest Jim Fletcher.
The court has been told there are 52 potential witnesses, but not all will be called.
The case has been adjourned to September 23.
In the meantime, the Crown will finalise so called tendency and co-incidence notices, relating to the Archbishop’s prior conduct and behaviour, as well as determining the areas of relevance of each witness.
Mr Buchen said he needs to know which witnesses the Crown really proposes to call, noting the adjournment will facilitate the course of justice.
Ian Temby QC: the ‘$1000 an hour’ barrister who will defend Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson against sex abuse cover up claims
March 18, 2015 7:16am
ANDREW HOUGH The Advertiser
THE Catholic Church will likely pay the legal fees and the cost of one of the country’s leading barristers to defend Archbishop Philip Wilson against a sex-abuse cover-up charge.
Sydney QC Ian Temby, 72, who charges up to $1000 an hour, will oversee Archbishop Wilson’s defence as the latest prominent case in an almost 50-year career.
Having represented both sides of the bar table, he was Australia’s first Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the founding NSW corruption watchdog and is a former royal commissioner.
The Archbishop’s case, described by experts as “extremely unusual”, is expected to cost at least $10,000 a day to defend.
Sources suggested the Archbishop’s legal fees would be paid for by the Catholic Church although it remains unclear how far it would fund his defence.
“The church usually has money allocated for this type of stuff and he is entitled to defend himself,” one source said.