Three on trial on tax evasion charges

Three local men, two of them brothers, are to stand trial early next year charged with offences relating to the alleged non-payment of duties on cigarette sales.

All three denied the charges when they were arraigned before the city's Crown Court yesterday.

The defendants are James Christopher Paul Kelly (44), a shop manager from Tamneymore, Gobnascale, his brother Thomas Kelly (36), unemployed from Maureen Avenue, and Keith Robert Moore (36), from Bards Hill, Gobnascale.

James Kelly denies three charges of making, with intent to defraud, false statements to the Inland Revenue about cigarette and tobacco sales. He further denies two other charges of the fraudulent evasion of duty on tobacco products.

Keith Moore also denies two charges of the fraudulent evasion of duty on tobacco products and Thomas Kelly denies one similar charge.

All three are alleged to have committed the offences between January 2001 and April 2006.

Returning the three defendants for trial on continuing bail, Judge Corinne Philpott Q.C. criticised the failure of investigating police officers to provide the defence solicitors with an evidential video tape.

"Police videos should be given to the defence for viewing before the arraignment," she said. "That is the direction of the Chief Justice. In cases where there are videos, copies should be given to the Public Prosecution Service by the PSNI so that they can be given to the defence prior to arraignment", she said.