DPP fails to have Redmond sentence increased

 

The DPP has failed to persuade the Court of Criminal Appeal to impose a custodial sentence on former Dublin city and county assistant manager Mr George Redmond for failure to make tax returns over a 10-year period.

The appeal court yesterday refused to alter a decision imposing fines of £7,500 on Mr Redmond. The Director of Public Prosecutions had argued the penalty was too lenient.

Mr Redmond (76), of Castleknock, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on April 13th to 10 charges of failing to make tax returns from 1988 to 1998.

He was fined £500 on each of the first five charges and £1,000 on the second five, making a total of £7,500. The Circuit Court had been told Mr Redmond had previously paid £782,000 in tax, interest and penalties.

In a 31-page judgment yesterday, the court decided that while the penalties imposed might be on the low side, there was no error in principle. The fines could not be said to be unduly lenient within the meaning of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993, under which the DPP sought the review.

Mr Justice Hardiman said the fines were the result of a logical process where the trial judge, working with the limited and sometimes contradictory information before him, had tried to balance the gravity of the offences, the other penal consequences and the personal circumstances. There was no evidence the trial judge had erred in principle.

The DPP, having the onus of proof, had failed to adduce evidence of the revenue loss, the composition of the repayment or the means of Mr Redmond. Mr Justice Hardiman said it was important to make clear the charges were the totality of what was before the trial judge and what was before the Court of Criminal Appeal on the application for a review.

With Mr Justice McCracken and Mr Justice Murphy, he said in the present proceedings, Mr Redmond was not being penalised for failure to pay income tax. He had already paid penalties. He was being penalised solely for failure to make returns. The appeal court could not substitute its own judgment for that of the trial judge, and could not reduce or increase a sentence simply because its members would have, had they been dealing with the matter at first instance. An error of principle was required.

To meet his tax liabilities, Mr Redmond had paid to the Revenue, apparently through the Criminal Assets Bureau, £782,000, which entailed the sale of his family home. The Revenue agreed that Mr Redmond was contrite and co-operative with CAB's inquiries.