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Sunday 28 May 2017

Judge pushes for 'Slab' Murphy tax evasion trial date

A judge warned prosecutors today he wanted a prominent republican to stand trial for tax evasion charges as quickly as possible.

Thomas "Slab" Murphy appeared in the Special Criminal Court over nine charges that were brought against him almost two-and-a-half years ago.

Mr Justice Paul Butler told the court the case was "quite ancient".

The judge refused a request by Roslyn Langan, junior counsel for Murphy, for a lengthy adjournment because of another proceeding relating to the case.

It is understood the alleged former IRA chief is taking civil action against the State in the High Court because he was sent for trial to the Special Criminal Court.

The three-judge non-jury court usually deals with terrorism-related offences, but the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has the discretion to decide if an ordinary court is inadequate to deal with a case.

DPP solicitor Michael O'Donovan told the judge the State had filed notice of particulars almost a year ago and were still waiting for a reply from Murphy's defence team.

"It is still the director's view that this court deal with the matter," he added.

Mr Justice Butler, presiding, said if the defence is in default it is up to the prosecution to bring a motion to "strike it out or whatever" or to push proceedings on.

"It's quite ancient," he added.

Prosecutors claim Murphy failed to furnish a return of his income, profits or gains to the Collector General or the Inspector of Taxes for the years 1996/97 to 2004.

The case was brought after an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The 60-year-old, of Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, was in court for the brief hearing.

The case will be mentioned again on April 27.

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