Sunday 21 October 2018

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy found guilty of tax evasion by Special Criminal Court

Thomas "Slab" Murphy, who owns a farm in Co Louth straddling the border with Northern Ireland, arrives at the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

PROMINENT Republican Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy has been found guilty by the non jury Special Criminal Court of tax fraud – by failing to make returns to the Revenue.

Mr Murphy (66), of Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, had 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.

Slab Murphy
Slab Murphy

The Special Criminal Court was packed with supporters this afternoon as the three judge court delivered its verdict, finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on all nine counts.

Mr Murphy, who has been remanded on continuing bail, sat with his arms folded in the body of the court as presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler read the courts' ruling.

Judge Butler said that the court will require, before Mr Murphy's sentence, information of sanctions imposed in at least five similar cases that resulted in convictions, how they relate to this case and the estimated loss to the exchequer.

The crux of the nine week case was whether Mr Murphy, who was prosecuted on foot of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau - which had raided the farm at Ballybinaby in March 2006 -  was a chargeable person or someone who is chargeable to tax on income.

The prosecution said Thomas Murphy was the chargeable person, but Mr Murphy claimed he was a victim of identity theft allegedly carried out by his brother Patrick Murphy.

Thomas Murphy was the only member of the Murphy family not arrested following the CAB's search of the premises.

It was 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.

Mr Murphy’s defence lawyers argued that Slab’s brother, Patrick Murphy, managed the cattle herd and farming activities.

Mr Murphy’s lawyer told the non jury court that Patrick Murphy was 'the man in charge' and 'controller' who - amongst other things -secreted cash and documents in his shed for the purposes of avoiding detection.

The claim that Mr Murphy was a victim of identity theft allegedly perpetrated by his brother Patrick Murphy had baffled presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Butler as Patrick Murphy had accompanied his brother Thomas Murphy to court and were observed by the court sitting together during the trial.

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