A 59 year old man who was prosecuted by Revenue for a second time for having large quantities of untaxed cigarettes, was given a three year suspended sentence at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.
John Hoey with an address at Hazelwood Avenue, Bay Estate, Dundalk pleaded guilty to being concerned in the attempted evasion of duty of excise arising out of the seizure of cigarettes on May 17th 2018.
The court heard last Wednesday that members of the Revenue Anti Evasion Team in Dundalk, who had obtained a search warrant the day before, had John Hoey under surveillance. They saw him pull up in a car at an address on the Dublin Road, Haggardstown.
He let himself in and exited less than 15 minutes later with two carrier bags that appeared to contain cartons of cigarettes which he put into the boot before driving off.
The car was stopped within minutes and he told Revenue officials there were a few cigarettes and some tobacco in the boot, and showed the search warrant said there were more in the shed, which he unlocked directed them to a box. The court heard the potential loss to the State, if the untaxed cigarettes and tobacco had been sold on the open market was roughly €45,000.
John Hoey was convicted of a similar offence in 2017, but the 12 month suspended sentence that was imposed, had expired before the second offence.
The loss to the State on the first occasion was five times the figure for the seizure before the court. The Defence barrister said the father of four had worked as a butcher for 30 years, but had lost his job due to changes in the industry, and he is now the carer for his mother who is in her 90s.
She added he can't explain how he fell back into this behaviour again.
Judge Patrick Quinn imposed a three year sentence, suspended on the defendant entering a bond to be of good behaviour for the next five years.