Trial of Thomas 'Slab' Murphy hears closing speeches

Trial of Thomas 'Slab' Murphy hears closing speeches

Closing speeches are being heard at the trial for alleged tax evasion of prominent republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

Mr Murphy (aged 66), of Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to nine charges alleging that he failed to furnish a return of his income, profits or gains or the source of his income, profits or gains to the Collector General or the Inspector of Taxes for the years 1996/97 to 2004.

It is the prosecution's case that, although Mr Murphy conducted significant dealings in relation to cattle and land, and received farming grants from the Department of Agriculture, he failed to make any returns to revenue.

Mr Murphy is being prosecuted on foot of an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, told the judges at the non-jury Special Criminal Court today that whether or not Mr Murphy was a chargeable person is the "crux of the case".

Previously, the court has heard that a chargeable person is a person who is chargeable to tax on income.

"Thomas Murphy received or was entitled to receive income in respect of trade, then he's a chargeable person," Mr Burns said.

"It is not important who is physically carrying out any particular aspects of the work, but who is in receipt of or entitled to receipt of income from that trade," he added.

"In this instance, there's not a dispute that cattle trade is going in the name of Thomas Murphy," he said.

He further stated, "Income from the trade went into a bank account of Thomas Murphy and was used to fund a pension policy Thomas Murphy had set up."

Mr Burns submitted that the defence's suggestion Mr Murphy was the "victim of some elaborate identity theft" is a "construct woven to try to get around the evidence".

"Money was lodged into Thomas Murphy's bank account. It doesn't matter who lodged it, that's where it went," he said. "He was free to do with it what he wanted."

John Kearney QC, defending, told the judges, "Patrick Murphy lurks just below the surface of this case."

The court has previously heard that Patrick Murphy is the accused man's brother.

It is the defence's case that Patrick Murphy managed Thomas' cattle herd and farming activities.

Mr Kearney referred to a statement of affairs, dating from 2009, which was exhibited during the trial. He said that Patrick Murphy "essentially admits" in the document that he is in charge of the herd attributed to Thomas Murphy.

Mr Kearney said that after the statement of affairs was introduced in evidence, the prosecution made "the most spectacular own goal in history".

"The prosecution bring you the goods. They bring you the evidence of forgery," Mr Kearney said, referring to documents which were examined by a handwriting expert, who gave evidence earlier this week, and told the court there was "strong evidence" that the documents, which bear a signature in the name of Thomas Murphy, were not signed by him.

"They exploded the myth there is no forgery in this case," Mr Kearney said.

The defence barrister also referred to the bank account opened in Thomas Murphy's name.

"For the first three years of this account, there is not a sign of cattle dealing cheque in this account," he said.

Mr Kearney is expected to conclude his closing speech tomorrow.

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