A SOLICITOR has asked why the Revenue Commissioners appear to ‘want his client’s head on a platter’.
Solicitor Jim Brooks asked the question at Clonakilty District Court this week, in relation to his client John Daly, who was convicted at a court sitting last October of selling cigarettes and tobacco, without paying duty on them.
Mr Daly of The Paddock, Drinagh, a brother of Junior Health Minister Jim Daly, had been convicted of having 680 cigarettes and 0.300kg of fine tobacco for sale in his post office, without having paid duty on them, on November 4th 2016. This led to a loss of revenue to the State of €400.
The court was told that a conviction could lead to the loss of Mr Daly’s livelihood and the case was adjourned on previous occasions in order to clarify if Revenue wanted a conviction recorded. Mr Brooks said his client admitted the offence and is now asking for mercy as the loss of revenue was ‘miniscule’ and said there was another way of dealing with it, and that was to strike it out.
‘Why does the Revenue want his head on a platter? He’s done all he can do and this higher authority won’t move an inch,’ said Mr Brooks, who added his client would hand over the money anyway.
State solicitor Malachy Boohig told Judge Mary Dorgan the position is clear and he has received instruction from the Revenue Commissioners that they want the matter to be finalised, and he was under certain pressure to do that.
‘He has pleaded guilty and your hands are tied. All you can do is impose a penalty. If you don’t convict, they will take matters further and you don’t have option of probation either,’ said Mr Boohig.
Judge Mary Dorgan said it was a very difficult situation and a conviction could put Mr Daly out of business. She said the attitude of Revenue was ‘extraordinary.’ Judge Dorgan asked if the matter could go to mediation, but Mr Boohig said this wasn’t possible as the prosecution is over.
Judge Dorgan said it was very easy for someone in an office to decide Mr Daly’s fate but he made one mistake and he could lose his business. Judge Dorgan then gave a formal invitation to a Revenue official to attend court on July 3rd.
‘He needs to hear the reality of this man’s situation,’ said Judge Dorgan.
Mr Boohig said he would relay the invitation to Revenue.