Application to dismiss ‘Slab’ Murphy case rejected

Lawyers for 66-year-old argue case focused on alleged tax evasion ‘an abuse of process’

An application by lawyers for prominent republican Thomas “Slab” Murphy to have alleged tax evasion charges against him dismissed has been rejected by the Special Criminal Court. File photograph: Collins Courts.

An application by lawyers for prominent republican Thomas “Slab” Murphy to have alleged tax evasion charges against him dismissed has been rejected by the Special Criminal Court. File photograph: Collins Courts.

 

An application by lawyers for prominent republican Thomas “Slab” Murphy to have alleged tax evasion charges against him dismissed has been rejected by the Special Criminal Court.

Mr Murphy’s defence laywers argued that the case was an “abuse of process”. He is being prosecuted on foot of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

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 same to the Collector General or the Inspector of Taxes for the years 1996/97 to 2004.

The prosecution alleges 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.

Counsel for Mr Murphy say his brother managed his cattle herd and farming activities.

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 annually.

‘Abuse of process’

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

Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding at the three-judge, non-jury court, on Wednesday 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 the charges for the 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 that the defence lawyers would “consider the court’s ruling in relation to any evidence that may be called.”

The trial resumes on Friday.