In a surprise twist, an Anglican priest and his wife will plead guilty to defrauding and stealing from a parish in Conception Bay South, a provincial courtroom in St. John's heard on Friday.

Rev. John Dinn, 55, and his wife Catherine, 52, were charged in May 2013 with defrauding St. John the Evangelist Church in Topsail. They were also accused of forging cheques. 

The offences were said to have occurred between July and November of 2012.

The Dinns' lawyer, Jeremy de Jong, told the court about the impending guilty pleas on Friday morning.

A hearing to see if they were eligible to have their matter heard in Mental Health Court was supposed to have taken place on Friday morning. De Jong told reporters that he expected it to go ahead, but the Dinns did not appear.

De Jong said he learned by telephone that they had a change of heart and now wanted to plead guilty, and rescind their application for Mental Health Court.

A speedy disposition has been set for Aug. 12.