Jury in Michael Lowry case retires for the evening
Politician denies charges of filing incorrect tax returns between August 2002 and 2007
Independent TD Michael Lowry has pleaded not guilty to filing incorrect tax returns. Photograph: Collins Courts
The jury in the trial of Independent TD Michael Lowry has retired for the evening having failed to reach a verdict on its second day of deliberations.
It is the State’s case that Mr Lowry’s company, Garuda Ltd, received Stg £248,624 (€372,000) in commission from Norpe OY, a refrigeration company based in Finland, in August 2002.
It is alleged that Mr Lowry arranged for this payment to be made to a third party, Kevin Phelan, through the Glebe Trust based in the Isle of Man, and therefore it didn’t appear in the company accounts for that year.
It is further alleged that the accounts were then falsified in 2007 to reflect that the payment was received in 2006.
Last Wednesday, Judge Martin Nolan told the jury that a charge of delivering an incorrect tax return for 2002 had been withdrawn.
This charge relates to a €1.1 million tax bill that Revenue had assessed both Mr Lowry and Garuda as owing when it was determined that the €372,000 was a wage or salary earned by the politician.
This assessment was successfully challenged at the appeals commission in April 2015 and the tax liability set to nil.
The remaining charges before the jury relate to a corporation tax owed on the €372,000 which the State say should have been paid in 2002. The tax was paid in 2006 instead and Revenue later assessed that as a result the net loss to the State was €5,415.
A bill of €29,000, including penalties and fines, was later paid by Garuda relating to this corporation tax.
Mr Lowry (64) of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co. Tipperary, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of filing incorrect tax returns on dates between August 2002 and August 2007 in relation to a sum of Stg £248,624 received by his company, Garuda Ltd and one charge in relation to failing to keep a proper set of accounts on dates between August 28th 2002 and August 3rd 2007.
He further pleaded not guilty on behalf of Garuda Ltd to three similar charges in relation to the company’s tax affairs and one charge of failing to keep a proper set of accounts on the same dates.
Judge Nolan told the jurors during his address to them on Friday that the issue in this case was what Mr Lowry knew.
He said the jury must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Lowry knew the money was not included in the company accounts and tax computations.
The jury of nine men and three women, who have been considering the verdict for just over six hours, are to return on Tuesday morning to resume their deliberations. It is day 11 of the trial.