Jury fails to reach verdict in case of Suffolk clergyman Ian Finn
- Credit: Archant
The jury in the trial of a Suffolk clergyman accused of a £12,000 fraud involving church fees has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.
Before Ipswich Crown Court is 57-year-old Ian Finn, who was rector at St Mary The Virgin Church in Haverhill, at the time of the alleged fraud between 2007-2014.
The prosecution has now been given a week to decide if there is to be a retrial.
Finn, of Hopton Rise, Haverhill denied fraud by position in respect of £12,707 in church fees.
Giving evidence Finn blamed incompetence rather than dishonesty.
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He said he had a degree in theology but had never studied accountancy or book keeping.
Finn told the court he took over at St Mary The Virgin Church in Haverhill in 2007 and said he had “ been snowed under” with work.
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He said he had used his electronic diary rather than funeral registers to work out the fees that were owed as it was the quickest way of doing things and this had resulted in him making the errors the court had heard about which he regretted.
Charles Myatt, prosecuting, said that concerns were raised about Finn’s record-keeping in relation to church fees by his curate Manette Crossman and Finn was invited to attend an informal meeting with Archdeacon David Jenkins on February 8 last year.
“During the meeting he was asked if he had anything to say and he said he didn’t know if there was and he would need to go home and check,” said Mr Myatt.
The next day Finn produced a two page document containing a number of errors he had made going back seven years which he calculated to involve an £18,000 shortfall.
He immediately transferred £18,096.50 to the Diocesan Board of Finance although the amount of the fraud he was subsequently charged with was much less, said Mr Myatt.