Crown argues against Mental Health Court priest’s fraud case

Published on February 26, 2014

The Crown in the case of an Anglican priest and his wife charged with defrauding their parish says the case should not be heard in Mental Health Court.

Ruth Wakeham told a judge today the Crown is opposing a defence application to have the case heard in that court.

Rev. John Dinn, 54, a rector at St. John Evangelist Church in Topsail, and his wife Catherine Lynn Dinn, 51, are facing criminal charges that they defrauded the Conception Bay South parish out of money.

Wakeham said the case should be transferred back to provincial court.

Defence lawyer Jeremy D'Jong, however, said the Crown's suggestion is premature as they are awaiting doctors' reports.

The case will be back in Mental Health Court March 12.

According to the Department of Justice, Mental Health Court is designed to provide an increased level of support, both medical and community based, and is based on the recognition that certain offenders who suffer from a mental disorder may commit offences as a consequence of their mental disorder or due to lifestyle issues related to their mental disorder.

When the case was called in provincial court last month, the defence indicated it would be applying to have the case heard in Mental Health Court.

Applications must be filed first, including doctors' reports. A judge then decides whether it passes the criteria.

It's alleged that on Dec. 17, 2012, Catherine Dinn knowingly made a false document - writing a cheque - causing an employee of HSBC to act upon it as if it were genuine, defrauding the parish out of an amount under $5,000.

She's accused of two other, similar incidents - one in July and another in August 2012 - where a cheque was forged and then deposited at HSBC, defrauding the Parish of St. John the Evangelist out of an amount under $5,000.

John Dinn is facing similar charges.

In July and October 2012, he allegedly forged cheques and deposited them at HSBC, defrauding his parish out of an amount under $5,000 in each incident.

All told, Catherine Dinn faces 12 court charges and John Dinn, 13.

John Dinn has been on leave from the parish since January 2013.