Australia

Former archbishop Philip Wilson acquitted

Former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson has won his appeal against conviction for concealing abuse. (AAP)

A NSW judge has quashed former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson's conviction for covering up child sex abuse.

Former Adelaide archbishop Philip Wilson is a free man after a judge quashed his conviction for covering up child sexual abuse at the hands of a NSW Hunter region priest.

But an appeal could be in the works after the NSW Attorney-General asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider further action.

Newcastle District Court judge Roy Ellis on Thursday upheld Wilson's appeal against his conviction citing reasonable doubt.

Suspicion was not a substitute for proof beyond reasonable doubt, Judge Ellis said.

The prosecution case was that Wilson was told by two altar boys in 1976 that they'd been abused by pedophile priest James Fletcher and that the clergyman did nothing about it.

It was alleged he subsequently failed to go to the police after Fletcher was arrested in 2004 for abusing another boy.

Abuse survivor Peter Gogarty, a victim of Fletcher, said he couldn't believe the judge's decision.

"I didn't sleep much last night," he told Nine Network on Friday.

"I think the real concern out of this is that after spending billions of dollars on a royal commission ... and all of the horrendous stories that we heard out of that, we're back at a point where nobody in any of these institutions - and particularly in the Catholic Church - has been brought to account for their behaviour."

Judge Ellis also threw out an appeal by the DPP against the leniency of the original sentence of a year's home detention.

Wilson, 68, has served almost four months at his sister's home.

He watched the judge hand down his decision via video link from a remote location so he didn't have to face the media.

Fletcher was convicted in 2004 of sexually abusing another boy and died of a stroke in jail in early 2006.

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