Windsor

Appeal dismissed for former Tecumseh priest

Former Tecumseh priest, Robert Couture, has had his appeal dismissed.

Robert Couture will still have to pay back $75,000 to St. Anne's Church

Former priest Robert Couture has had his appeal dismissed.

Former Tecumseh priest, Robert Couture, has had his appeal dismissed.

Couture was found guilty of theft over $5,000 in December 2015 and was sentenced to jail and ordered to pay $75,000. 

He appealed the decision but that appeal was dismissed in an Ontario court with the judge ordering that the payment must be made.

The former priest was arrested May 2013 by Essex County Ontario Provincial Police, for thefts that took place between 2002 and 2010. An audit of Couture's accounts showed almost $170,000 in "irregularities."

During the trial, Couture said he had broken church policy, but not the law.

According to the decision, Couture was appealing his conviction based on trial judge errors. Couture's defense said the trial judge had failed to caution the jury against speculating why Couture had been placed on administrative leave.

The judge dismissing the appeal reviewed the jury instructions and found they had been told to consider the leave "irrelevant."

Couture was also appealing the sentencing, specifically the $75,000 payment to St. Anne's Church.

Due to Couture's position of authority and trust as a priest, the judge denied the appeal and the payment stands. 

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