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'Slab' Murphy fights tax ruling

PROMINENT republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy is to launch a Supreme Court challenge to a ruling that tax charges against him should be dealt with by the non-jury Special Criminal Court rather than the ordinary courts.

Murphy (60), of Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, is being prosecuted on foot of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau. The nine charges allege that he 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 will be heard again on December 21.

Pilot survives chopper crash

A helicopter helping to install a Christmas tree crashed in dramatic fashion, but the pilot amazingly escaped serious injury.

Footage captured by Television New Zealand shows the pilot slowly descending from about 25ft on Auckland's waterfront when the chopper's blades appear to get caught in cables attached to scaffolding.

The rear of the helicopter snaps and the pilot is hurled about as the helicopter smashes into the ground.