Charges relating to alleged theft of ‘£110,000’ from church have been withdrawn and case is to proceed by way of a report to prosecutors

The church at Glenwherry.

CHARGES against a man accused of stealing £110,000 from Glenwherry Presbyterian Church have been withdrawn and the matter is to proceed by way of a report from police to the Public Prosecution Service, Ballymena Magistrates Court has heard.

Robert Saunderson (63), of Church Road, Glenwherry, originally faced four charges when he first appeared at the court in April.

He had been accused of the theft of ‘monies to the value of £110,000 or thereabouts belonging to Glenwherry Presbyterian Church’.

He was also originally charged with fraud by false representation by ‘writing cheques to yourself with the intention, by making the representation, to make a gain for yourself or another or to cause loss to Glenwherry Presbyterian Church’.

The defendant was also accused of possessing criminal property and faced a fourth charge – transferring criminal property.

The charges related to August 24, 2018.

At the latest court hearing, on Thursday, a prosecutor said the allegations involved a “large fraud case” and as they were still waiting for a full file from police the original charges were being withdrawn and the case would “proceed by a way of a report”.

At the first hearing, defence solicitor David McIlrath had said the “headline figure” in the charges “has been substantially reduced”.

The lawyer had said efforts were being made to ensure the church would not be at a financial loss.

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