Simon Reynolds – vicar guilty of theft from his parish

Simon Reynolds – vicar guilty of theft from his parish

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Photo from the BBC

Introduction

Courts really do not like people in a professional position who abuse the trust placed in them abusing that faith for their own ends.

So Simon Reynolds, currently a suspended vicar, can expect the book to be thrown at him after being convicted on 23rd July 2015 of thefts from his parish totalling £24,000

 

Facts

Rev Reynolds (as he is at the moment, but probably for not that much longer) was based in All Saints Church in Darton. There were four counts of theft.

On three occasions he took money from his parishioners for weddings or funerals. This was supposed to be passed on to the ‘Wakefield Diocesan Board of Finance’, but Rev Reynolds only passed on a tiny fraction of it, trousering the rest.

In a fourth count, Rev Reynolds kept money for monuments in the churchyard that should have been passed on.

It’s not clear why the amounts add up to £24,000 – it seems a lot, so it may be that these were ‘specimen’ counts, or it may be that the monuments account for this.

 

Sentence

Rev Reynolds denied the offences and had a trial, so there will be no credit for a plea of guilty.

The relevant guidelines are the Theft Guidelines (see page 11). Here, it is likely that it will be seen as a ‘high’ degree of trust. The amounts involved put this in the top category with a starting point of 3 years and a range or 2-6 years.

The value is towards the very bottom of that bracket and we would expect a sentence here of about 2 years. It will be a sentence of immediate imprisonment however, there’s very little chance that this would be suspended.

 

Failing to attend Court

It seems that Rev Reynolds was not in Court for the verdict, and in fact did not turn up to Court today. A warrant has been issued.

It is a really, really bad idea to not turn up to Court. He’s not an international criminal, and is not going to go on the run, so it won’t take him long to be found.

Unless he has got a good reason for not turning up today, he will face a further charged under the Bail Act. This will probably mean another month being added to his sentence.

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Tut, tut, Dan. Rev Smith or even Reverend Smith is ALWAYS wrong. The Rev. Mr Smith or the Reverend Mr Smith.

    I’m going to guess three years (disregarding the Bail Act charge) in spite of the lowish amount because of the profession of which he will soon be an ex-member. I think that that will involve the Consistory Court – not a tribunal of which I have any experience and if anybody else can tell us what happens next I’m sure we’d all like to know.

    A propos of which: human nature being what it is, and with apologies to Liberte-Egalite-Sororite, one fine day they will have to find a verb to be the female equivalent of “unfrocked” which is what will happen to Mr Reynolds!

    • I do apologise! I shall buy a copy of Debretts (is that tax deductible?!).

      I think under 3, but perhaps not by much (and it may depend on how long he’s on his toes for).

    • Hang on, what’s the proper address for a woman who has been ordained then? My Sister was ordained about 20 years ago, and I have been sending letters addressed to Revd. X ever since. Have I been getting that wrong?

      • OK, I have been getting her title wrong for the past two decades. In my defence though, she’s been getting it wrong as well, because she just has Revd Josephine Bloggs on her website. I’ll point out the error to her when I next see her. In my experience people are always grateful when you correct their mistakes (see correspondence with LES on the paedo manslaughter thread for example).

    • It’s a bit of a relief to find that he has not done anything silly (well, not anything more silly than he has already done, if you see what I mean).

  2. Now we know. Thirty months for the thefts and two for skipping bail. I would have given him one for the Bail Act charge but three years for the theft, so perhaps he’s lucky that I had problems with the Latin.

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