Judge John O’Neill has thrown out a Revenue Commissioners prosecution brought against a company owned by Irish Independent TD Michael Lowry, because a court summons was served at an out-of-date Dublin address.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had taken the prosecution on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners at Dublin District Court.
The Judge ruled that he was now declaring “no order” in relation to criminal proceedings against Garuda Ltd, latter a refrigeration company owned by the current Independent TD for Tipperary North, latter which trades under the name of “Streamline Enterprises.”
The company had its registered offices with an address previously at the Gables, Torquay Road, Foxrock, Co Dublin, but had recently changed same registered office address to Abbey Road, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
The firm had been facing charges, alleged, relating to the filing of certain incorrect information and incorrect accounts, contrary to Revenue’s section 1078(2)(a) and (3) of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, as amended by section 211 of the Finance Act, 1999, in relation to the company’s corporation tax back in 2002. It also faced a third charge which alleged that the company provided an incorrect corporation tax return to the Irish Revenue Commissioners for the accounting year 2006.
Judge O’Neill heard submissions from defence barrister Mr Justin McQuade and M/s Grainne O’Neill BL prosecuting. Mr McQuade, for Garuda Ltd, argued that there were issues in relation to jurisdiction as the summons were issued by Dublin District Court on December 10th last in Dublin and not in Tipperary. Garuda Ltd had changed its registered office to Thurles, Co. Tipperary, but that information had not updated on the Company Registration Office’s website until January 14th this year.
M/s O’Neill, acting for the State, argued that this ruling would mean that a company could frustrate a prosecution by continually changing the address of its registered office. She also said that summons had been accepted by an employee of Garuda Ltd’s accountants. The purpose of a summons was to obtain the presence of an accused before the court and as the defendant company was now represented at the proceedings there was no issue. She also pointed out that the Foxrock address was still the registered address of the company on December 10th last when the summonses had been initially sought.
Ruling, Judge O’Neill stated that the summons had been served at the company’s previous registered address and he therefore held that the court did not have jurisdiction to deal with the particular case.