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Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:14 pm
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Flori wrote:
DollyBantry wrote:
The Irish attitude of "It's only a little bit illegal, and he's a terrible decent man" is what got our country into the mess it's in today. The law may be an ass, but it is the law. He was found guilty and the judge imoosed the sentence that was open to him. That it seems excessive relative to other crimes is irrelevent.



I have yet to hear character references that suggested that any of the main players in Ireland's financial demise were 'terribly decent men'.


I'm bloody sure that Seanie and gang's families and their friends would tell you that they are terribly nice people and decent. They probably are if you met them. I once had a lovely au pair - well brought up, lovely manners, very pleasant, great sense of humour, seemingly well-balanced. She stole at least 500 euro from us. Nice and 'on the surface' decent people are not always honest. What he did was extremely dishonest - I totally understand why the judge feels the need to impose a harsh punishment. A light one would only encourage more of this sort of thing. However, that doesn't mean I can't feel extremely sorry for the man and his family. I also feel extremely sorry for victims of more serious crimes who have seen the perpetrators get away with a punishment that is a fraction of his.
The other thing that makes me mad though is that the tax on garlic seems ridiculously high and it's anti-business to have a tax like that.


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Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:19 pm
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Did anyone ever get 6 years for laundering Agri diesel or importing cigarettes without declaring 1.6m worth of duty?

Over the years many people have made settlements to the Revenue, lists of them are publicised regularly. I personally know a man who had to pay a few million and he paid it, his name was published but I don't think there was ever a question of him being sent to jail.

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Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:59 pm
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AFAIK, customs duties are set at an EU level, to protect EU trade. Why the distinction between onions and garlic is made when both can be produced within the EU, I don't know.


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Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:18 pm
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Don't see the reason for the custodial sentence when the money was being repaid.

Sounds to me like a case of the judge being on a power trip.

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Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:37 pm
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Garlic is very easy to grow here.

I think the length of the sentence is excessive in comparison to sentences handed out for most other crimes.


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Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:49 pm
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I think its ridiculous that he got 6 years when u see the likes of Wayne O'Donoghue getting 4 yrs for murdering a child and hiding his body, thats just the one case that popped into my head when I read it, I'm not doubting that he's done wrong and he should be punished but ffs get some sort of flipping balance, the whole system is a joke.

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Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:53 pm
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Deise wrote:
Don't see the reason for the custodial sentence when the money was being repaid.

Sounds to me like a case of the judge being on a power trip.


I saw a legal expert explaining on the TV (6.1 news possibly?) yesterday words to the effect that one of the higher courts in the country gave directions, a few weeks back, that they were no longer going to disregard white collar crime such as this re custodial sentences in the future.

I would wonder if the judge in this case was taking his lead from these directions. He seems to have, considering his comments re making an example of him to others engaged in similar behaviour.

Either way though Mr Begley will most likely appeal, get the sentence reduced (probably halved), and be out in 18 months.


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Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:34 pm
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motherhen wrote:
I think its ridiculous that he got 6 years when u see the likes of Wayne O'Donoghue getting 4 yrs for murdering a child and hiding his body, thats just the one case that popped into my head when I read it, I'm not doubting that he's done wrong and he should be punished but ffs get some sort of flipping balance, the whole system is a joke.


Wayne O'Donoghue was not convicted of murder. He was convicted of manslaughter. I'm not jumping to his defence - just stating a fact.


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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:37 am
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I think that quite often MONEY is seen as more important than PEOPLE in this country (and many others).

In this instance the convicted man & his company were found guilty of defrauding Revenue of Money. Now this fraud isn't without impact or damage to the general public, but it certainly cannot be compared to heinous acts of violence, rape, torture, murder. Yet the state has decided, on this occasion, that it was a more serious crime.

Likewise, people found guilty of relatively small acts of fraud, non payment, debt can be convicted & treated so very badly (while the Big Boys get a slap on the back for being the cute hoor), but the delinquint, violent, & downright cold-blooded heartless criminals get away with hardly any punishment.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:52 am
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In my head, mostly...
He broke the law and deserves a punishment.

But six years of a jail term? Seriously? When he was already repaying/in agreement with Revenue?

And what is with that tax on garlic?! I bought three bulbs in Aldi for 60c recently.

This country is such a joke.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:59 am
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Duty rates are set centrally by the EU.
The tax (duty) is there to protect European countries' business - they grow a lot of garlic in Spain, but if they can only produce and sell it for (let's say) 10c per bulb, yet China can produce it for 3c a bulb, then importers would just buy the Chinese garlic & never buy the Spanish garlic. They cannot prevent the Chinese from selling it at 3c, and they cannot prevent you from buying it at 3c, but they can discourage you from buying it by putting huge rates of Duty on it to try to support & protect local (European) business.
On the one hand it may seem unfair that this isn't completely "free trade" but if it wasn't for measures like this Ireland would probably have little or no export market.

I know from my own experience that while the application of duty classifications is done in a highly detailed & specific manner, sometimes they are open to interpretation, and one European country may accept a particular interpretation and another country may not, leading to unfair advantages for one EU country over another. For all we know, perhaps the Chinese garlic is being improperly imported by everyone all over Europe, and this particular importer may be the only one to be caught/prosecuted. I've no idea if that is the case, I'm just saying that it is possible.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:07 am
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waggs wrote:
motherhen wrote:
I think its ridiculous that he got 6 years when u see the likes of Wayne O'Donoghue getting 4 yrs for murdering a child and hiding his body, thats just the one case that popped into my head when I read it, I'm not doubting that he's done wrong and he should be punished but ffs get some sort of flipping balance, the whole system is a joke.


Wayne O'Donoghue was not convicted of murder. He was convicted of manslaughter. I'm not jumping to his defence - just stating a fact.


Yeah ur right, sorry, even still though I dont think he got a sentence that matched his crime as I dont in this case.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:15 am
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I have no real sympathy for him - he didn't forget to pay tax or make a mistake - he engaged in activites to deliberately defraud the state.

On the sentence - I think six years is fine - it sends a fairly strong message about how serious stealing from the state is. On the inequity - I would rather see focus on increasing the sentences for violent crimes than reducing this one.


Last edited by novbaby31 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:37 am
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novbaby31 wrote:
I have no real sympathy for him - he didn't forget to pay tax or make a mistake - he engaged in activiters to deliberately defraud the state.

On the sentance - I think six years is fine - it sends a fairly strong message about how serious stealing from the state is. On the inequity - I would rather see focus on increasing the sentances for violent crimes than reducing this one.

I agree. He systematically, deliberately, and consciously set out to defraud the State (i.e. you and me, the taxpayers) and continued to do so over many years, for purely selfish profit motives.

It was not up to him nor any other individual to decide for themselves that a particular tax or duty was "ridiculous" or unjustified and to unilaterally decide to falsify documentation to avoid paying it. I do feel the sentence could be seen as heavy, but it is two sentences for what were four sample charges. If he had been tried for all the potential charges over the many years he was doing this, and got a small sentence for each, he'd probably be in jail a lot longer.

The uproar when someone admits to or is suspected of making false social welfare claims, which would come to far, far less than this man stole from the State, is in stark contrast to the sentiment here. Consider how little attention this thread got, concerning a man who defrauded the State of less than a sixth of what Paul Begley managed and who was jailed for over 12 years for his trouble.

I do think as a society we need to consider whether we wish to reduce or even eliminate custodial sentences for non-violent crimes. But at present, we have not done so, and I don't think that deciding that nice, respectable, white-collar criminals who have cash can be exempt from prison sentences, whilst those who cannot or do not tick those boxes will be sent to jail, is how to deal with that. It smacks of one law for the rich and one for the poor (and I accept that in many ways this already exists; I am saying that exacerbating it is not the way to go).

And the argument that he shouldn't be jailed because others have not yet been brought to justice is like saying no-one who is on trial for assault should be sentenced until all murder cases for that year have been brought to trial, because they're more serious and if a murderer hasn't yet gone to prison why should someone who only beat someone else up? One has nothing to do with the other.

My children spend a lot of time trying to persuade me that bad behaviour on the part of one of them justifies further bad behaviour from another. ("But she jumped on the couch/threw toys around/pushed me/screamed/didn't do her homework yesterday!") I don't accept it as an excuse from them and I certainly don't accept it as an excuse from grown adults.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:44 am
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novbaby31 wrote:
I have no real sympathy for him - he didn't forget to pay tax or make a mistake - he engaged in activiters to deliberately defraud the state.

On the sentance - I think six years is fine - it sends a fairly strong message about how serious stealing from the state is. On the inequity - I would rather see focus on increasing the sentances for violent crimes than reducing this one.



The more I've been thinking about it, the more I agree with the above. But I have such a huge problem with the inequity part and would really really really love to see the whole system overhauled so people pay for their crimes and you don't get the situation where you can run a pedestrian walking on a footpath over while over the limit and walk away with a suspended licence and sentence and other similar IMO stupid judicial outcomes. Get tough with everyone over serious crimes, there should be little lee way for Judges to set soft sentences.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:46 am
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Oh and Chinese garlic sucks in comparison to your regular European variety.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:24 am
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Ireland is generally far to soft on white collar crime.

This was serious, longterm tax evasion.


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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:11 pm
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LuckyMum wrote:
denzo wrote:
Oh and Chinese garlic sucks in comparison to your regular European variety.


Until I read this thread I never considered checking where my garlic came from. I will now :D


It's the one thing Tesco do well :D Their organic garlic is so much superior to the stuff you get in Aldi or Lidl. Much stronger and more flavourful.

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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:30 pm
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Mrs Mom wrote:
A woman got 6 years jail today for killing an elderly man with her car by pinning him to the wall of a house in a drunken fury.
2 years suspended.
It just shows what a massive problem there is with sentencing here when you compare it with 6 years for tax evasion.


I thought of this thread when I heard her sentence on the news earlier.


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Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:43 pm
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My point purely relates to the futility of such a long prison sentence in a case like this. The taxpayer will foot the bill for his prison stay and we will be several hundred thousand euros poorer.

What he did was absolutely wrong, but the likes of Quinn and Fitzpatrick have shown utter contempt for the law and for Irish people and therefore I would not put them in the same category as someone who had agreed a programme of repaying his debt in full plus all penalties.

I didn't even see the case of the social welfare fraudster, so wasn't aware of the outrage surrounding that case.


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