Prominent republican 'Slab' Murphy pleads not guilty to tax offences

Court: Thomas 'Slab' Murphy
Court: Thomas 'Slab' Murphy

A prominent republican has pleaded not guilty to nine tax offences in the Irish Republic.

Thomas "Slab" Murphy, who owns a farm in Co Louth straddling the border with Northern Ireland, appeared before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin.

The charges relate to the alleged failure to comply with tax laws by not furnishing authorities with a return of income, profits or gains or the sources of them over an eight year period from 1996 to 2004.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday to allow defence and prosecution lawyers to discuss material being disclosed for the trial.

Murphy appeared in court to enter the pleas wearing a pink open neck shirt and brown jacket, almost eight years since he was arrested as part of a tax investigation.

The 66-year-old from Ballybinaby, Hackballscross was remanded on continuing bail with the court ruling that the requirements for him to sign on at a Garda station are to be removed on any date he is in court.

The three-judge court heard a disc containing thousands of pages of documents has not been thoroughly examined by defence lawyers ahead of the trial.

Judge Paul Butler, presiding, told the court he was surprised the defence and prosecution lawyers had not held talks on the disclosure of material ahead of the trial.

"It's astounding, and we can't attribute blame, but it's astounding that both sides have not spoken until today," he said.

"We are dealing with a Revenue case here. We have people in custody waiting for their cases to he held. We need to get on with this."

The trial is scheduled to last two to three weeks.