During yesterday’s sentence hearing, the Special Criminal Court heard that Murphy owes Revenue almost €190,000 in unpaid taxes for his farming business on the border with the North. The court also heard that Murphy now works as a yards man for a company in Crossmaglen, where as a PAYE employee he earns €1,055 per month.
In December, after a 32-day trial, Murphy was found guilty of nine charges of failing 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.
During the trial, the court heard evidence that although Murphy conducted dealings in relation to cattle and land, and received farming grants from the Department of Agriculture, he failed to make any returns to Revenue.
At yesterday’s sentence hearing, Detective Inspector Kevin Ring, a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) officer, told prosecuting counsel Paul Burns that in 2006 he was part of a team which investigated a number of people on the border.
During a search of a cattle shed, the court heard, CAB investigators seized a large volume of documents and ledgers, cash worth €256,235 and £111,185 sterling, as well as uncashed cheques worth €579,000; £80,000 stg and £24,000 punts. The documents and ledgers related to cattle trade conducted by Murphy, Det Insp Ring told Mr Burns, and the entries in the ledgers did not follow normal accountancy procedures. The documentation also included records from Murphy’s bank account and an Irish Life pension policy, as well as records of payments made by Department of Agriculture to Murphy worth over €100,000.
The detective told the court that the CAB’s assessment of Murphy’s tax bill is worth €5,344,157 and that from farming income, the issue for which Murphy was tried before the court, he owes €189,964. The estimated loss to Revenue is based on the “notional figure” of €15,000 or £15,000 punts per year profit from Murphy’s farming business, the court heard.
John Kearney QC, for Murphy, said he hopes that in sentencing the court will take into account the fact the charges were “hanging over him” for 10 years. “That is a considerable impact on anyone,” he added.
Mr Justice Butler, presiding with Judge John O’Hagan and Judge Anne Ryan, remanded Murphy on continuing bail until February 26.