Video: Tax case against Redknapp 'absurd'
Published 07/02/2012 | 05:00
THE prosecution case at Harry Redknapp's tax evasion trial is "repugnant to all our basic instincts of fairness", a court heard yesterday.
Mr Redknapp's defence counsel John Kelsey-Fry launched a fierce attack on the prosecution for using a 'News of the World' investigation as its "crucial lynchpin" in the case.
"There is an inherent absurdity that shrieks out at you" in some of the allegations that Mr Redknapp took £189,000 (€228,000) in bungs, he told Southwark Crown Court in London. Betting odds crashed for Mr Redknapp being the next Premier League manager to be sacked two days before allegations were made public, jurors were told.
Mr Kelsey-Fry said bookmakers slashed bets from 50/1 to evens after a flurry of wagers on the Friday before accusations against Mr Redknapp and co-defendant Milan Mandaric appeared in the Sunday tabloid.
In his closing speech, the barrister said the Crown was relying on "primarily despicable" evidence gathered by reporter Rob Beasley.
He said: "I do not shrink from suggesting to you it is repugnant to all our basic instincts of fairness in the criminal justice process."
Referring to interviews carried out by Mr Beasley, Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "They saw a great story, all's fair in love and war at the 'News of the World'."
Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric, his former chairman at Portsmouth, were an "odd couple" like the old Hollywood film, the court heard earlier.
They were compared to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as Mr Mandaric's defence barrister Ken Macdonald said the prosecution was "really flailing" with "paper-thin" explanations for the Monaco payments. Mr Macdonald also highlighted Mr Mandaric's multibillion-pound business dealings, saying: "Steve Jobs doesn't work with fools."
"It's really desperate stuff" to suggest Mr Mandaric might have intended the payments as a reward for Portsmouth beating Manchester United, jurors heard.
It also "simply doesn't make sense" that the first payment was a bonus for the £3m profit made over the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, Mr Macdonald said.
As a "non-dom", it made no sense for Mr Mandaric to pay the money into a UK account, jurors heard.
Mr Macdonald said the pair had an "emotional relationship, at times a tempestuous relationship, at times a love-hate relationship".They are an "odd couple, a bit like the old film", he added. "An odd couple, different men, different backgrounds... but I would suggest a deep affection," Mr Macdonald said.
Both Mr Redknapp (64) of Poole, Dorset; and Mr Mandaric, from Oadby, Leicestershire; deny two counts of cheating the public revenue. The case continues.