The trial at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin of republican Thomas “Slab” Murphy for alleged tax evasion has heard evidence from a forensic accountant about ledgers and cheques found in a shed during a search by the Criminal Assets Bureau.
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.
Return of income
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.
Mr Murphy is being prosecuted on foot of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab). A forensic accountant, who works with Cab and cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that he examined documents, including ledgers, cheques and cheque books, seized in 2006 during the search of a shed on the border with Northern Ireland.
The accountant told Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, that all the entries in the ledger, which included references to properties in Manchester, were “under Tom”.
A ledger was shown to the court, which defence counsel John Kearney QC referred to as “one of the most important exhibits in the case”.
The ledger is a record of the sales and purchases of cattle, as well as expenditure on cattle feed and silage, from 1997 to 2004, the court heard. The forensic accountant gave evidence in relation to entries of expenditure and income in the ledger which were marked with a letter “T.”
“I take the entry of T to refer to Thomas Murphy,” he told the court.
The court also heard there were entries in the ledger for other members of the Murphy family, including the accused’s brother, Patrick.
The accountant agreed with Mr Burns that “specific letters were assigned to particular individuals”.
The accountant further stated that he analysed and cross-referenced the entries in the ledger with invoices from cattle marts and with a bank account in the name of Thomas Murphy.