Tuesday 20 August 2019

Court rejects 'Slab' Murphy's application for a dismissal

Slab Murphy
Slab Murphy

Daniel Hickey

The judges at the Special Criminal Court trial for alleged tax evasion of prominent republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy have rejected the defence lawyers' application to have the charges dismissed.

Mr Murphy's defence lawyers had argued that the case was an "abuse of process".

Mr Murphy (66), of Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to 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.

It is the prosecution's case that, although Mr Murphy conducted significant dealings in relation to cattle and land, and received farming grants from the Department of Agriculture, he failed to make any returns to revenue.

His defence lawyers claim that Mr Murphy's brother managed the accused man's cattle herd and farming activities.

Mr Murphy is being prosecuted on foot of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Previously, the court heard evidence from a Revenue Inspector who estimated that, from 1996 to 2004, Mr Murphy's income from farming was €15,000 per year.

Tony McGillicuddy BL, defending, had argued that these figures meant the charges should be dismissed as "an abuse of process".

Yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge, non-jury court, said there was "no evidence whatsoever for such a proposition".

The defence had also made submissions last week in relation to the wording of the charges against Mr Murphy.

The court heard that the charges for the tax years 1996/97 to 2000/01 included the words "knowingly and wilfully" and that charges for following years included the words "without reasonable excuse".

Mr McGillicuddy had argued that the onus was on the prosecution to prove the absence of any reasonable excuse and that the alleged offence was committed "knowingly and wilfully".

Mr Justice Butler stated that, in proving the absence of any reasonable excuse, the "evidential burden falls on the accused party".

Mr McGillicuddy said the defence lawyers would "consider the court's ruling in relation to any evidence that may be called".

Irish Independent

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