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'Whistleblower' letter to PAC opened in Michael Lowry tax trial


Michael Lowry

Michael Lowry

Michael Lowry

THE letter written to the Public Accounts committee by whistleblower Gerry Ryan has been opened in the Circuit Court as part of efforts by former Government Minister Michael Lowry to have criminal charges against him dismissed.

Last Friday the Revenue Commissioners laid a new criminal charge against Mr Lowry, bringing to five the number of criminal charges he faces.

Mr Lowry claims the entire prosecution is "devoid of integrity" and says the root of the whole problem is that people who are not involved in the administration of justice "arrogated to themselves" the administration of justice.

Mr Lowry (60), of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary, faces a total of four counts of "knowingly or wilfully" filing incorrect tax returns.

Three of the charges relate to a date in October 2003 and involves income tax for the 2002 tax period.

The fourth charge relates to a date in August 2007 and involves income tax for the 2006 tax year.

The charges, under section 1078 (2) (A) of the Taxes Consolidation Act, carry 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.

The 5th count raised last Friday by the Revenue Commissions alleges a breach of Section 202 of the Companies Act 1990 which requires  that every company shall cause to be kept proper books of accounts.

The letter from civil servant Gerry Ryan was opened this afternoon by Senior Counsel Patrick Treacy, for Mr Lowry, as part of his [Mr Lowry's] bid to have all charges against him dismissed or permanently stayed.

If those applications succeed, Mr Lowry also wants Circuit Court Judge Thomas Teehan to send a file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on foot of allegations made by him that a number of people "profoundly misled" the DPP, Criminal Assets Bureau and the Revenue Commissioners.

Mr Treacy said that he opened the whistleblower's letter in order to compare what Mr Ryan said to how the Revenue Commisssioners conducted itself in relation to a searches of Mr Lowry's home, an office and that of a Mr Denis O'Connor.

Mr Lowry said the search of his private home was a violation, "deeply humiliating"  and a "grossly excessive" and "intimidatory" use of the Revenue's powers which had held him up to ridicule and had been reported on the front page of the Sunday Independent newspaper.

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Mr Lowry has also alleged that the DPP,  CAB and the Revenue Commissioners were "profoundly misled" by a number of parties including Sunday Independent journalist Dr Elaine Byrne and its editor Anne Harris.

Mr Treacy, for Mr Lowry, told Judge Thomas Teehan that Ms Byrne met with the Criminal Assets Bureau at the offices of the Sunday Independent on February 22nd, 2013 and again on February 23rd 2013 at the bureau's Harcourt Street Dublin Headquarters.

Mr Treacy said that Ms Byrne did not, however, disclose to the CAB a letter from Kevin Phelan to Ms Harris dated February 2nd, 2013 or an email sent on February 12th, 2013 from Mr Phelan to Ms Byrne in which he (Phelan) said he could not stand over a purported tape recording of Mr Lowry.

It was claimed that Ms Byrne did not inform the CAB that Pavilion Capital, a British private equity firm described by Mr Treacy as "an overlord" by Mr Treacy was "controlling information" published in the Sunday Independent.

None of the parties against whom Mr Lowry has made allegations are represented in court as it was disclosed by him as part of his efforts to cease the prosecution against him.

Mr Treacy said the purported tape recording, "which the while country knows about" can not be relied on by the prosecution because Mr Phelan will not co-operate with the prosecution against Mr Lowry .

"It is completely unstatable that that tape recording will be played in this case," said Mr Treacy who says there is an insufficiency of evidence.

"The tape is gone," said Mr Treacy.

Last month Judge Teehan, sitting at Nenagh Circuit Court, was asked to dismiss or permanently stay (then) four counts of "knowingly or wilfully" filing incorrect tax returns.

But Mr Lowry says that even if all five charges against him are dismissed or permanently stayed, he wants the judge to refer certain matters to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Lowry's application to strike out the proceedings is now being brought under three headings.

The first is an application to have the charges dismissed pursuant to Section 4E of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 (as amended) which allows an accused, any time after he has been sent forward for trial, to apply to the trial court to dismiss one or more of the charges against him.

The second heading under which he wants the charges stuck out or permanently stayed is what his counsel, Patrick Treacy SC previously  told Judge Teehan is the "inherent jurisdiction of the court".

This morning Mr Treacy told Judge Teehan that a third heading was now being sought in which Mr Lowry - in the event that the dismissal or permanent stay applications succeed - to have the entire file referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Lowry wants a file sent to the DPP, on foot of a separate formal complaint made by him, against Kevin Phelan, a land agent, Sunday Independent writer Dr Elaine Byrne and Anne Harris, editor of the Sunday Independent Newspaper.

Mr Lowry also wants the DPP to investigate a complaint made by him in respect of Fail Senator Diarmuid Wilson, described as "an outspoken critic and political opponent" of Mr Lowry and/or the partners in British private equity firm Pavilion Capital Partners Limited.

Mr Lowry is a former Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications in John Bruton's Rainbow Coalition Government.

The father of three was first elected to the Dail for Fine Gael in 1987 having been a successful Tipperary-based businessman and a GAA official.

He was appointed to Mr Bruton's Cabinet following the collapse of Albert Reynolds' Fianna Fail-Labour Coalition in late 1994.

Mr Lowry resigned his position in November 1996.

He has now been an Independent TD for 17 years.

Mr Lowry has been returned as a TD for the Tipperary North constituency at every election since 1987.

The application continues.

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