Minister accused stealing over £10k from church and hospital donations
Rev. McLaughlin, with an address at Church Avenue in Dunmurry, faces six charges of fraud
Paul HigginsSunday World
A parish minister was today accused of abusing his position to steal over £10,000 from the church and a hospital grouping.
At Lisburn Magistrates Court, 48-year-old Reverend Adrian McLaughlin was charged with six counts of fraud by abuse of position and defence solicitor Garrett Greene revealed that while the father-of-two is still being paid £637 a week, “he is on gardening leave”.
Rev. McLaughlin, with an address at Church Avenue in Dunmurry, faces six charges of fraud by abusing his position, five relating to St. Coleman’s Parish Church and one relating to his role with the RVH Liver Group on various dates between 15 October 2016 and 1 October 2018.
While the prosecution did not open any of the alleged facts of the case, the particulars of the offences accuse Rev. McLaughlin of:
Writing out a £10,000 cheque to himself;
Taking a £1,000 donation for himself;
Taking £520 from two complainants who had made donations and one who paid to use the church hall and
Pocketed donations from a funeral held at the church but intended to go to RVH Liver Unit Group at a time he was a trustee of that group.
The case against Rev. McLaughlin had been scheduled to be elevated to the Crown Court but Mr Greene asked District Judge Rosie Watters to adjourn the case for two weeks as “there are some matters outstanding in the papers,” submitting that legal aid should be granted because “these matters are particularly complex and there’s a risk to his livelihood” if convicted.
Granting legal aid, DJ Watters adjourned the case to 13 October.