Suffolk rector cleared of fraud charges

Jury finds the Rev. Canon Ian Finn not guilty of fraud

A jury sitting at the Ipswich Crown Court has found a Suffolk rector not guilty on charges of fraud.  After two hours of deliberations on 6 Feb 2017 the jury held the Rev. Canon Ian Finn was not guilty of stealing over £12,707 in fees from his parish, St. Mary the Virgin in Haverhill. In 2014 an audit of parish finances raised questions about how fees had been collected by Canon Finn. After reviewing his records, Canon Finn stated that he had mistakenly kept the fees and reimbursed the parish. However, the matter was passed to the police for investigation and charges were brought. Canon Finn’s first trial in 2015 resulted in a hung jury, and the Crown Prosecution Service announced they would retry him. Canon Finn protested his innocence saying the misappropriation of funds had not been deliberate but was due to his poor record keeping. After the jury announced its not guilty verdict, the Bishop of Dunwich, the Rt. Rev. Mike Harrison said: “Many people in the Rev Canon Ian Finn’s parishes of Haverhill and Withersfield, as well as his colleagues and elsewhere, will be left deeply saddened by all that has happened, and my prayers and thoughts are very much with everyone involved. Canon Finn has achieved a lot of good during his years of ministry, and is well thought of by many, which is why this has been so especially difficult for everyone concerned. Now the trial has concluded, the Diocese will inevitably need to review the matter internally and decide what further action, if any, is required.” Canon Finn told the East Anglian Daily Times he was “enormously relieved” by verdict. “The last three years have been a personal nightmare which I feared, during the darkest days, would never end. Despite today’s verdict my life will never be the same. It is a nightmare which should never have taken place. As became abundantly clear during the trial, this was not an issue about criminality. It was about competence, or lack of it, when it came to figures and paperwork.”

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