FORMER Minister Michael Lowry has been charged with three fresh counts of filing false tax returns.
The Independent TD for Tipperary North did not appear before Thurles District Court today where three fresh charges were levelled against him.
The first charge was levelled against Mr Lowry in December.
Mr Lowry of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary now faces a total of four counts of “knowingly or wilfully” filing an incorrect return.
Three of the charges related to a date in October 2003 to do with income tax for the 2002 tax period.
The fourth charge relates to August 2007 and refers to the 2006 tax year.
Mr Lowry was represented before Judge Elizabeth MacGrath by solicitor, Michael Collins.
State solicitor, Gerard O'Brien, applied for the matter to be adjourned until February 25.
He also confirmed to Judge MacGrath that the DPP has instructed that the matter be dealt with by indictment before the Circuit Criminal Court by judge and jury.
Judge MacGrath was told that the adjournment was with the consent of Mr Collins.
However, the judge directed that a shorter adjournment period apply and referred the matter to Thurles District Court on February 4 next.
The State can then apply, if necessary, for a further adjournment to prepare the book of evidence in the case for service.
Mr Collins declined to make any comment on the matter after the brief hearing.
The charges, under section 1078 (2) (a) of the Taxes Consolidation Act, carries a fine of up to €3,000 and/or up to six months in jail, if proven in a District Court and a fine of up to €127,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment, if proven before a jury in the Circuit Court.
Mr Lowry is a former Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications in John Bruton’s Rainbow Coalition Government.
He became an Independent TD after resigning from Government in 1996.
Mr Lowry has been returned as a TD for the Tipperary North constituency at every election since.
By Ralph Riegel