Pastor cleared of forgery charges

Pastor Christopher Murray, in grey jacket, and church members celebrate the not guilty verdicts outside court on Tuesday. - Photo: Andrel Harris

A jury found church pastor Christopher Constantine Murray not guilty of forgery at the end of a two-week trial on Tuesday.

Following the jury’s verdict, church members and supporters of the pastor sang hymns at the courthouse building as they celebrated his acquittal.

The Bethel Refuge Apostolic Church pastor had been accused of forging the signatures of assistant pastors Oral Campbell and Winston Calloo on official church documents. He denied the charges.

Murray, Campbell and Calloo founded the Bethel Refuge Apostolic Church in 2012. The court had heard that relations soured in 2016 after Campbell and Calloo learned of their status as directors on the church’s board and that they could be removed at an annual general meeting.

Campbell and Calloo subsequently accused Murray of forging their signatures on the church’s memorandum and articles of association. A Grand Court jury of five women and two men returned unanimous not guilty verdicts against charges of forgery and uttering a false document.

“These have been two of the longest and hardest weeks of my life,” said Murray, after the not guilty verdicts were announced. “These two weeks have been the most trying and challenging, not just on me, but my family and the church family, as well.”
The trial began on 26 Nov.

Many of the pastor’s supporters had offered to speak as character witnesses at the trial.

“Normally, when it comes to criminal cases, you’ll find it is hard to get people to come forward and give evidence,” said Amelia Fosuhene, Murray’s lawyer. “But in this case, there were so many people willing to give evidence about Mr. Murray’s character that we had to turn some away, or else the trial could have easily lasted another two weeks.”

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