Preparations for the trial of Independent TD Michael Lowry on tax charges should not be suspended because of his impending legal bid to stop the tax case going ahead, the President of the High Court said yesterday.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said while a stay on the trial going ahead remained in place pending determination of Mr Lowry’s High Court judicial review bid to stop it altogether, this should not prevent the DPP from serving additional statements or making similar preparations for the trial.
Last month, the former communications minister and sitting Tipperary North TD was granted permission by the High Court to bring a challenge aimed at halting his trial before Dublin Circuit Court on four charges of allegedly filing incorrect tax returns in 2003 and 2007. He denies all charges.
Mr Lowry’s trial was transferred from Co Tipperary to Dublin on the application of the DPP.
He claims his prosecution is extraordinary because it concerns a payment he had both declared and paid.
Mr Lowry, of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary, also says he has no outstanding tax liability and is being treated unfairly and selectively. He also contends he is entitled to prohibition orders on grounds of alleged prejudicial publicity and alleged wrongful release of taxpayer information into the public domain.
He also claims the transfer of the trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court breaches his rights — and amounts to him being punished for success as a politician in Tipperary.
Mr Justice Kearns was told yesterday the DPP was applying to lift the stay on progressing the criminal tax proceedings on the basis it would be oppressive. The earliest date for the tax trial would be January 2016, the judge was told.
Patrick Treacy, counsel for Mr Lowry, said all his side was seeking was that the trial would not take place before the judicial review.
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