An 84-year-old man with a suspended jail term hanging over him had the case against him re-entered by the State for the judge to consider revoking the suspension and jailing him.
Michael Grimes was sentenced three years ago for failing to pay almost €340,000 in VAT returns which had been paid to his company by customers.
A two-and-a-half-year suspended jail sentence was imposed on him.
Now prosecution barrister Brendan Kelly has come back to Cork Circuit Criminal Court to re-enter the case against Michael Grimes of Kilpatrick, Innishannon, Co Cork.
However, senior defence counsel Tom Creed complained about the prosecution application saying: “My friend read out the order which had five conditions. I might be able to guess which one of the conditions have been broken [according to the prosecution]. But I would like to know that. We need to know which condition was breached.
“It is just not fair. I want to know which of the conditions have been breached. It is a lengthy document [entered by the prosecution in the re-entry]. This cannot be done in a matter of minutes. It is a 10-page document in relation to breaches.”
Judge Dara Hayes said: “Clearly there is a potential of a significant sanction. There is a realistic prospect of a two-and-a-half-year sentence being imposed.” Judge Hayes agreed to adjourn the re-entry application until May 18.
Judge Hayes said that, in the meantime, the State solicitor should write to the defence and set out what particular conditions to which the alleged breaches relate.
Denis O’Rourke, an authorised officer of the Revenue Commissioners, said at the sentencing hearing three years ago that BV Securities Ltd was selling plant and machinery and had €1.95m sales in the relevant period. On the basis of 46 invoices, the company was liable for €340,000 in VAT.
“That particular amount was separately invoiced to customers of the company — 46 invoices to 13 different customers,” said Mr O’Rourke. “The VAT was paid by the customers and lodged by BV Services to a bank account. Dr Grimes was signatory to that account. That total [over] €338,000 was not remitted. No part of it, as of yet [May 2018], has been remitted to Revenue. The exchequer did not receive the funds. Revenue was able to establish he was director and secretary and shareholder. He was responsible for VAT.”
Defence SC Tom Creed said it would have been a long and complex trial without the pleas of guilty to the sample counts of failing to remit VAT while his client was a director on dates in 2007 and 2008.
Prosecution senior counsel Alice Fawsitt said the Revenue Commissioners had been asked their views in advance of sentencing on the possibility of the accused getting a suspended sentence.
Their view was that a suspended sentence would be acceptable on an extensive set of conditions.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan, who imposed the sentence three years ago, said: “The defendant is, from this day forth, disqualified from acting as a company director and must keep the peace and keep his tax affairs up to date.”
Mr Grimes is also required to refrain from vexatious communications with Revenue.
Mr O’Rourke said, at the end of his evidence outlining the background to the crime, that it would be very important that Mr Grimes would cease to be a director of any company for a period of five years.
Referring to the requirement on the accused not to have any vexatious interaction with Revenue, Mr O’Rourke said: “If he kept away from Revenue, that would be the most helpful thing he could do.”