Murphy challenges Special Criminal Court venue for case

The latest stage in the long-running saga of the State versus Thomas Murphy got under way in Dublin’s High Court today.  Thomas Murphy faces trial in the Special Criminal Court on nine charges of failing to make tax returns between 1996 and 2004. 

In October 2008, the “culmination of intensive investigations by the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau and the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency” saw more than €625,000 in cash and cheques confiscated in Ireland as the proceeds of crime, while £445,000 (573,000 euro) and nine properties in the north-west of England were recovered by UK authorities. There were also reported tax settlements with the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau “for a figure understood to be over €1m” by Patrick and Frank Murphy, brothers of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy – who has been named previously as both the UK’s richest smuggler and a former Provisional IRA Chief of Staff.

Today’s BBC report notes

However, his [Thomas Murphy’s] lawyers argue that as that court was set up to try terrorist-related cases, a different court should have been chosen.

They claim the Irish state has acted illegally in its choice of court as Mr Murphy is being charged with tax offences.

And the RTÉ report adds

The legislation allows the DPP to issue a certificate directing the trial of a matter before the Special Criminal Court on the grounds that the ordinary courts would be inadequate to achieve the administration justice and the preservation of peace and order.

Mr O’Higgins said there was no opportunity for a person who is sent for trial at the Special Criminal Court under such circumstances to appeal that decision.

The action is expected to take around three days.

Of course, “Tom Murphy is not a criminal. He’s a good republican.”  That quote from Gerry Adams in full (March 2006)

“Tom Murphy is not a criminal. He’s a good republican. I read his statement after the Manchester raids. I believe what he says. He’s also, and very importantly, a key supporter of the Sinn Féin peace strategy and has been for a very long time.”

But then Adams also said when asked, by RTÉs Tommie Gorman, whether he believes Murphy’s denial of membership of the IRA Army Council,

“If he denies being a member of the IRA, then I have to accept that.”

And, if my rough grasp of geography is correct, Gerry Adams is now Tom Murphy’s new local TD…

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  • HeinzGuderian

    Big House republicanism,at its finest !!!

  • joeCanuck

    As much as I detest the IRA, Murphy might have a point. The use of the Special Court might be a nudge nudge signal to the Judges. I can’t see the Dublin populace being afraid to convict of tax offences given the way they have been treated by the money men and their (money men) politician servants.

  • Cynic2

    ” I can’t see the Dublin populace being afraid to convict of tax offences ”

    ….. if you were on a jury for the trial of someone like Tom Murphy, would you convict him”

  • Rory Carr

    A case of ‘Trial By Error’ ?

  • joeCanuck


    I would like to think that I would if the evidence supported a conviction. But I’m not stupid. That’s easy for me to say from 3000 miles away. I obviously have no idea of what the consequences might be for Jurors who dared covict someone accused of being a former COS of the_PIRA. Haven’t they gone away, BTW? (Paul Quinn always comes to mind).