The trial of a pastor accused of forging the signatures of his fellow church members and submitting fraudulent documents is under way in the Grand Court.
On Tuesday, 26 Nov., the prosecution began the trial by outlining the alleged offences against Christopher Constantine Murray, the pastor of Bethel Refuge Apostolic Church.
The jury of seven women and one man heard that Murray is employed by John Gray High School as a counsellor. They were told that sometime between 2010 and 2011 he was also a member of All Nations Pentecostal Church, located in the Washington Boulevard area of George Town.
According to the prosecution, Murray and two other members decided to branch out in search of another church after becoming “concerned’ about how the church was being run.
“When they could not find a church that met their desires, they decided to start their own,” said prosecutor Ann Mulligan. “Not long after founding their own church they decided to register it as a non-profit organisation.”
Lees said the process was a long one that lasted nearly two years. Sometime in 2012, the Bethel Refuge Apostolic Church was officially registered as an NPO.
A rift is said to have developed between Murray and the other founding members over “the way in which decisions were being made” relating to church policies and funds. Mulligan told the jury the other two founders felt they were being forced to leave the church.
“The men learned they were listed as directors of the church which came as a shock to them, since they were of the mindset that they were being forced out of the church,” Mulligan told the court.
When the men requested documentation to support their alleged roles as directors, Murray was said not to be forthcoming, so the men checked with the General Registry, and were said to have received documents bearing their signatures, which they said were forged.
Murray was subsequently arrested and charged with forgery and uttering a false document. He denies the allegations, and the trial continues.