Garlic scam man awaits cut in sentence

 

A businessman jailed over a 1.6 million euro (£1.3 million) garlic import duty scam has been remanded back into custody while appeal judges decide by how much to reduce his sentence.

Paul Begley was jailed for six years for tax offences after admitting labelling more than 1,000 tonnes of garlic imported from China as apples, which have a cheaper tax rate.

Three judges at Dublin's Court of Criminal Appeal previously ruled that the term - the longest ever handed down for tax fraud of its kind - was excessive and disproportionate.

After brief submissions from legal teams in the court this morning they adjourned a decision on when Begley will be freed.

Begley, 47, was head of Ireland's largest fruit and vegetable company, Begley Brothers Ltd, when he avoided paying a higher tax of up to 232% on garlic. Fruit and vegetables have rates as low as 9%.

He was jailed last March.

Patrick Gageby, senior counsel for Begley, said three documents had been filed with the court which outline the "consequences" of the case on his client, including a five-year disqualification as a director since the day he pleaded guilty.

He also told the three judges, led by Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Liam McKechnie, that the conviction centred on a sample four charges of avoiding tax, totalling just over 85,000 euro (£73,900).

Elsewhere, Remy Farrell, senior counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the maximum sentence on each of the counts was five years in prison, or a 10,000 euro (£8,690) fine or treble the amount of the duty avoided, whichever was the largest sum.

Judge McKechnie said the court needed more time to consider the sentence, but would decide "pretty soon".

Begley's wife Diane, brother Greg, son Michael and elderly mother Phyllis were among the family members in the courtroom, which was packed with about 25 supporters.

He was jailed for evading customs duty between September 2003 and October 2007.

The trial judge was told the total fraud was about 1.6 million euro (£1.3 million) and that Begley, of Rathcoole, Co Dublin, had been paying off debts of 33,000 euro (£27,190) a month.

While the maximum sentence was five years, last year Judge Martin Nolan controversially imposed the maximum term on one count and one year on another count - to run consecutively.

Judge McKechnie previously warned the businessman the tax evasion was a serious matter carried out with premeditation over a period of time for personal gain.

However, he told the court the mitigating factors against the lengthy sentence had been striking.

Begley, who was dressed in a smart pin-striped suit, was led away by prison guards to continue serving his sentence at the Training Unit in Mountjoy Jail.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen