Priest guilty of fraud loses privilege to serve diocese

Sentencing for couple moved to Friday so judge can review bishop’s letter

Published on August 27, 2014
John and Catherine Dinn were not in court for Tuesday’s sentencing hearing. That’s because defence lawyer Erin Breen submitted a letter from the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador for Judge Mike Madden to review to help inform his decision. — Telegram file photo

An Anglican priest who has admitted to taking money from the parish he served will no longer be able to perform priestly duties within the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.

John Dinn and his wife, Catherine, were scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning, but those plans changed when defence lawyer Erin Breen submitted a copy of a letter sent to John Dinn by Rev. Geoffrey Peddle, bishop for the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.

In it, Peddle tells Dinn that in light of guilty pleas he entered on two counts of fraud and one count of theft, his privilege to serve the Anglican Church of Canada within the diocese has been revoked. The letter is dated Aug. 13.

Breen asked Judge Mike Madden to consider the letter as evidence with respect to sentencing. Madden acknowledged correspondence from senior Crown prosecutor Phil LeFeuvre indicating the letter is relevant to sentencing and agreed to set over the matter until Friday morning.

John and Catherine Dinn were not in court Tuesday morning. Breen told the court fellow lawyer Bob Simmonds advised them not to attend.

The Dinns took more than $9,500 from St. John the Evangelist Church — most of that sum has reportedly been paid back since they obtained legal counsel. They took cheques originally meant for charities and forged John Dinn’s name on them and deposited the cheques into a joint bank account. Envelopes that were supposed to contain $1,625 in cash were also found empty in John Dinn’s desk.

Catherine Dinn has pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud under $5,000.

Crown prosecutor Sheldon Steeves has recommended a three-month conditional sentence for John Dinn and a suspended sentence for Catherine Dinn, as well as probation. He also requested that they repay the remaining balance owed to the parish — $1,625 as of Aug. 13.

Defence lawyer Jeremy de Jong told the court earlier this month a discharge for both would be more appropriate.