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Lowry To Appear Before Dublin Central Criminal Court

The Dublin Central Criminal Court, situated at Parkgate Street, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8, is expected to be the venue on Wednesday (June 6th) next, in the trial of Tipperary Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry, latter accused of allegedly filing incorrect income tax returns for the year 2002 (some 16 years ago) and of allegedly conniving in the delivery by his company, Garuda Ltd., (latter a refrigeration company owned by the former cabinet minister) of incorrect corporation tax returns for the years ending 2002 and 2006.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had previously secured an order transferring this trial from the Tipperary Circuit Criminal Court to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. This secured order was perceived as stating in effect that a Tipperary jury could not be trusted to comply with their oath or indeed any warning given by a trial judge.

We understand that the case taken by the Revenue Commissioners will be heard by Mr Justice Martin Nolan.  Judge Martin Nolan will be remembered for his imposition of a previous sentence based on his principles of ‘punishment and deterrence’, in the jailing of Mr Paul Begley, head of the fruit and vegetable importers Begley Brothers Ltd, Blanchardstown, Dublin, whom he jailed in March 2011, after the latter admitted avoiding customs duty on garlic imported from China.

Later, in March 2013 the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) ruled that Mr Justice Nolan had erred in principle by overlooking, or not properly valuing, a number of mitigating factors which had been pleaded on Mr Begley’s behalf and that the landmark Revenue sentence was not proportionate to the crime committed.

Mr Lowry over the past number of years has strongly denied charges of allegedly filing incorrect income tax returns for the year 2002 and of conniving in the alleged delivery by his company Garuda, in incorrectly filing Corporation Tax returns for the years ending 2002 and 2006.

He also denies a fifth charge, brought under provisions of the Companies Act, of wilfully causing a company to fail to keep proper accounts, between August 28th 2002 and August 3rd 2007.  The transaction which gave rise to the prosecution involved a €372,000 payment, due to Garuda by a Finnish company, Norpe OY.

This prosecution was initially grounded on Revenue calculations that Mr Lowry had a personal tax liability of some €516,000, including interest and penalties, while Garuda had a liability of some €510,000, however those calculations were later disproven by Revenue Appeals Commissioners, who confirmed that Mr Lowry had no tax liability and Garuda had a €38,000 liability, which had been long since paid.

Their was no suggestion that Revenue officers had acted in bad faith, but all had operated on the wrongful conclusion that Mr Lowry and his company had a global tax liability of some €1m.

This unusual 16 year old Revenue prosecution case, is expected to be found extremely difficult to comprehend by any sworn body of people, (jury) convened to render an impartial verdict, officially submitted to them by a court.

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