A €1,500 fine and a two-day Closure Order has been imposed on Marlstone Investments Ltd, latter a company pub owned by former 2010 ‘Tipperary Hurler of the year’ Mr Lar Corbett. Same was imposed at Thurles district court yesterday following a conviction brought by the Revenue Commissioners, contrary to Section 79 (2) of the Finance Act, 2003.
The conviction was in relation to 23 bottles of counterfeit vodka, latter seized at Lar Corbett @ Coppingers, No.4, Parnell Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Making her decision, Judge Elizabeth McGrath stated that Mr Corbett, who holds two All-Ireland senior medals, had been an honest and fair witness, but concluded that there had been a lack of a proper scrutiny regarding stocktaking at the related premises.
Mr Corbett, a nominee of his company Marlstone Investments, had denied breaching Revenue legislation by having 16.1 litres of spirits for sale at his pub on January 29th 2015, without having paid the tax appropriate.
Mr Corbett took the stand in court yesterday and was shown one of the seized counterfeit bottles together with a genuine bottle of Smirnoff vodka, to which he stated that he could not tell either items apart from each other.
He named his wholesaler and off-licence from where he purchased the vodka for his licensed premises, prior to the seizure, stating that he had since changed both suppliers.
Under cross-examination, he fully accepted all responsibility in relation to the day to day activities at his premises and believed he had taken all necessary steps to ensure that no counterfeit stock was sold but admitted that he did not have a proper recording system at that particular time ensuring the full tracking of stock purchased.
Judge McGrath pointed out that licensing laws expect a high standard of care from all license holders and the manner in which they operate their premises, which included the standard of care applying to the issue of the supply of alcohol dispensed. She confirmed that a defence of ‘due diligence’ had failed to be established and this being the case, she therefore had no option but to convict, despite there being no previous convictions.
The maximum fine under current legislation remains at €5,000, while the penalty also includes a mandatory closure order for between two and seven days.