'No mention of bribery or corruption' in meetings, court hears

The terms "bribery" and "corruption" were never raised in meetings in 1999 between George Redmond's solicitor and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who was then chief of the Criminal Assets Bureau, a court has heard today.

The terms "bribery" and "corruption" were never raised in meetings in 1999 between George Redmond's solicitor and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, who was then chief of the Criminal Assets Bureau, a court has heard today.

It was revealed in a transcript read to the jury on day-13 of Mr Redmond's corruption trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of evidence given by his former solicitor, Mr Anthony Harris, at a previous hearing.

Mr Harris said in that evidence that the then CAB chief mentioned seizing his client's money and billing him for the tax with added interest and penalties.

Mr Harris added that there was "no mention of bribery or corruption" and no reference was made to Mr Redmond's sons' houses that were bought with contributions from others.

Mr Redmond (aged 83) of College Gate, Castleknock, has pleaded not guilty to two charges arising out of a compulsory purchase order on 167 acres of land at Buzzardstown and Coolmine, in north-west Dublin when he was an Assistant County Manager.

He denies receiving £10,000 from the late Fianna Fáil councillor Mr Patrick Dunne on a date between October 10, 1985 and June 26, 1989 as an inducement in respect of the compulsory purchase order and to receiving the money 'as a reward for showing favour to another' in relation to the same land.

Prosecution counsel, Mr Patrick McGrath BL (with Ms Pauline Walley SC) also read out evidence given by Commissioner Murphy during legal argument in the absence of the jury in which he said he met the accused in custody on February 20, 1999 after Mr Redmond told CAB officers he wanted "to see the person in charge".

Commissioner Murphy said he had a brief conversation with Mr Redmond on that date and he got the impression in subsequent meetings with him at his request that he thought he would "gain some advantage" by speaking to him.

He said he got a large brown envelope addressed to him on May 31, 1999 containing documents relating to Mr Redmond's tax affairs. He compiled a report on the package and handed the documents to the Revenue officers.

Commissioner Murphy agreed with defence counsel, Mr Brendan Gehan SC (with Mr Angus Buttanshaw BL), that the accused "went around the houses", repeating that he was embarrassed about his ruinous situation.

He agreed he told Mr Redmond he would make CAB officers available to him.

Commissioner Murphy further agreed with Mr Grehan that he did not know personally that Mr Redmond had withdrawn at the Flood (now Mahon) Tribunal the allegation he made in a voluntary CAB interview in 1999 about receiving the money from Mr Dunne.

A retired tax inspector, turned tax advisor, said Mr Redmond asked him for assistance with his tax returns in the months following his arrest at Dublin Airport in 1999.

Mr Brendan O'Brien said his "acquaintance of 70 years had tax problems that needed to be sorted out".

Mr O'Brien, who retired from his private chartered accountant practice in the late 80s. Having left the Revenue Commissioners in 1961, said he told Mr Redmond he was "out of touch" with tax laws.

He said he could deal with simple tax returns but could not help if Mr Redmond had international tax problems.

"I told him he should send in the tax returns and the quicker the better."

Mr O'Brien told Ms Walley that the accused asked him to complete and submit tax returns for him before a May 31, 1999 deadline.

He said he jotted down notes on Mr Redmond's general financial history, including his working background and personal assets, in the first of two meetings about his financial affairs. He added that the second meeting went into greater detail and he received bank statements and documents from the Flood Tribunal.

Ms Walley showed Mr O'Brien notes he had written during these meetings to establish where the accused had got certain income and pointed out the initials "PD" written beside a typed sum of £10,000 on a tax schedule compiled by the witness.

Ms Walley also highlighted references to Buzzardstown House, Blanchardstown and another figure of £10,000 in these notes.

Mr O'Brien said the notes and tax schedule were to give some idea of what tax was payable by Mr Redmond.

He said he wrote a letter to Mr Redmond's solicitor saying he reckoned it would take six months to complete the tax returns given the "sheer volume" of documents.

He said he did not think he would make the May 31 deadline, adding: "Enough work had not been done to satisfy the requirements of the tax acts."

The hearing continues before Judge Joseph Matthews and the jury of three women and eight men.

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