The prosecution against the pub owned by former Tipperary hurling star Lar Corbett regarding the alleged non-payment of the correct rate of tax on alcohol has been adjourned to allow the State deal with a legal issue.
Evidence in the case against Marlstone Investments, relating to the alleged breach of revenue legislation at Mr Corbett’s Coppinger’s Bar on Parnell Street in Thurles, Co Tipperary, was heard last week at Thurles district court.
The court heard last week that a sample from one of 23 bottles of spirits taken from the pub on January 29, of 2015 was found to be neither vodka nor the Smirnoff vodka it purported to be, and that its Smirnoff labelling was found to be “fake”.
Mr Corbett, who was named Hurler of the Year in 2010 and won All-Ireland senior hurling medals with Tipperary in 2001 and 2010, was in court last week and yesterday; but not called upon to give evidence or speak.
The case was adjourned last week when defence barrister Padraig De Búrca BL said there was “no evidence” before the court in relation to the correct rate of tax.
State solicitor, Michelle O’Connell, said yesterday that the legislation indicated there was an “assumption” that if the alcohol product was found to be counterfeit, then the correct rate of tax had not been paid.
Mr De Búrca said there was “no evidence” that there was counterfeit alcohol in the two bottles that were tested, that the evidence was that one bottle had fake labelling and the other bottle had liquid which was not vodka.
“Two random bottles were selected out of the total of 23 [seized from the pub].
“That is not a representative sample of the product that was seized. The fact that they have only taken two samples is insufficient,” he said.
Judge Elizabeth McGrath said the defence had raised “a legal issue that is live” and that it is a “relevant issue”.
It needed to be addressed by the prosecution, in relation to Supreme Court judgments.
She adjourned the case until October 25 to allow both sides make any further legal submissions they wanted to make, instructing them to provide any such submissions in writing to the court in advance of that date.
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