Senior clergyman in court on charge of abusing position

Latest crime and court news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Latest crime and court news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

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A senior clergyman accused of defrauding his own church of more than £13,000 has appeared at Ipswich Crown Court.

The Rev Canon Ian Finn is alleged to have taken the money over a seven-year period while in charge at St Mary the Virgin Church in Haverhill.

On Monday, the 55-year-old, of Hopton Rise, Haverhill, appeared before Judge John Devaux, who told him that he would have to return to court on December 19 for a plea and case management hearing.

Finn, an honorary canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the rural dean of Clare, indicated he would be pleading not guilty when he made his first court appearance before West Suffolk magistrates last month.

He is charged with having dishonestly abused his position to defraud St Mary The Virgin Church out of £13,204 in fees for church services between June 2007 and March this year.

Finn has been on extended leave from his post as parish rector since February, when an investigation into alleged financial irregularities at his church began.

Judge Devaux told Finn that he would continue to be granted bail until his next court appearance.

Speaking outside court at last month’s hearing, Finn said he was “entirely innocent of all the charges”.