Gerry Adams crony 'Slab' Murphy guilty of tax dodging
Published 18/12/2015 | 02:30
Prominent republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy is facing a potential prison term of up to five years after he was convicted of tax fraud at the non-jury Special Criminal Court.
The three-judge court has directed the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to give it guidance on sanctions handed down in similar income tax conviction cases, as the court normally deals with scheduled offences involving subversive crime.
Mr Murphy (66) from Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, had denied the nine charges alleging that he failed to furnish a return of his income, profits or gains or the source of his income, profits or gains to the Collector General or the Inspector of Taxes for the years 1996/97 to 2004.
He had previously been named in a libel action (that he lost) as a senior IRA commander and was described as "a good republican" by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in 2006 following the Criminal Assets Bureau raid on his cross border farm complex.
Mr Murphy showed no emotion as Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding judge of the three-judge court, delivered its 10-page ruling.
Judge Butler said the court was "satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that in each of the individual counts on the indictment the accused is guilty".
During the 32-day trial, the court heard evidence from Department of Agriculture employees, cattle mart and meat factory managers, Criminal Assets Bureau investigators and a Revenue Inspector that, although Murphy conducted dealings in relation to cattle and land, and received farming grants from the Department of Agriculture, he failed to make any returns to Revenue.
Murphy's defence lawyers had claimed that his brother, Patrick, was in control of the farming activities and was therefore the chargeable person. A chargeable person is a person who is chargeable to tax on income
Two witness statements were read into evidence under a Section 16 application. Section 16 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006, allows for a witness's statement to be read into evidence if there is an inconsistency between evidence given in court and a statement given to gardaí.
Giving judgment, Judge Butler said the statements represented the "true state of affairs", which was that Murphy was involved in the farming business.
A Revenue officer, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, examined various documents, including bank account details, invoices from cattle marts, copies of issue cheques of Department of Agriculture grants, EU Area Aid application forms, statements from employees of cattle marts, and documents seized by CAB from Murphy's and his family's homes.
The officer concluded that Murphy was involved in the farming business and that, from the years 1996 to 2004, he did not file any tax returns.
Mr Murphy has been remanded on continuing bail and will be sentenced early next year.