Barrister defendant in tax fraud hearing

A VERDICT is expected this week in the trial of barrister Bernard Cunningham and six accountants after what the Inland Revenue says is its longest-ever tax fraud trial.

The six-month trial involves an alleged tax loss of u1.3 million and is expected to have cost more than u2 million.

The defendants have been variously charged with a total of 14 counts under the common law offence of cheating the public revenue.

Cunningham, of Michael Jump's chambers at 24 Old Buildings, is charged on four counts of intent to defraud and cheating the Inland Revenue by representing that apparent purchases by a number of companies were bona fide commercial transactions.

The counts against Cunningham relate to apparent purchases by Tyresales (Birmingham) from Fleet International Ltd and by LPK Upholstery Ltd from International Textiles Ltd.

One count also concerns falsely misrepresenting or concealing the true nature of apparent commissions paid by Arvoland Ltd's suppliers to International Tyre Distribution Ltd.

Cunningham denies the charges against him.

The case, which commenced on 10 January, is being heard at Nottingham Crown court.

John Goldring QC of 2 Crown Office Row is leading for the revenue.

Anthony Arlidge QC of 5 Kings Bench Walk, Andrew Patience QC of 5 Paper Buildings, Douglas Day QC of Farrar's Building, and Michael Parroy QC of 3 Paper Buildings are appearing on behalf of the defendants.

Christian Fisher & Co are solicitors to Cunningham with Peters & Peters, Dibb Lupton Broomhead, Edge & Ellison, Allsop & Co, and The Smith Partnership acting for the other defendants.