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Former Christchurch priest gets prison for fraud

Wednesday 27 Feb 2013 3:25 p.m.

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A former Catholic priest has been jailed for two years and three months for defrauding around $149,000 from two Christchurch churches.

John Fitzmaurice appeared in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon for sentencing, after pleading guilty last December to six charges of dishonesty using documents or obtaining by deception.

The 57-year-old took money from the parish accounts of Christchurch’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart parish.

In sentencing today, the judge highlighted the fact Fitzmaurice's offending had happened over a long period of time and gave him a lengthy sentence.

If he had been sentenced to less than two years, Fitzmaurice would have been able to apply for home detention instead of jail. 

He has been suspended as a priest since September 2012.

Fitzmaurice had served as a part of the Catholic Church for more than 30 years before the suspension.

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