14 March 2009

Huey, Dewey and Louie

Huey, Dewey and Louie are three chaps who, in the early nineties, were set to appear in court in connection with an alleged GBP ten million customs fraud. They were said to have imported alcohol from Eire to the UK and evaded tax and duty on it, according to a report that can be found via Lexis Nexis (or you would be able to do so if I told you the names of the accused).

The story goes that on the way to the court - literally while they were walking up the steps - the case was dropped. One of the three, whose lawyer had told him to pack a toothbrush because he wouldn't be going back home, was so relieved at hearing the news that he spent the next three days in the pub.

All very entertaining and such ... but why was the case dropped?

Well, I don't know.

Also, I don't know the mechanism as to how.

How is it possible to be set in the frame for a GBP 10 million fiddle such that you're on the way to the court with your toothbrush in your top pocket and then suddenly, you're sinking pints in your favourite boozer?

Upon consideration of the date and the geography of the alleged offence the negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement sprung to mind. Perhaps a trial of this nature would have interfered with that? I don't know whether or not this had anything to do with it ... but this hypothesis has a ring of plausibility about it.

I thought that this would make an interesting story; if I could get to the truth of what happened, perhaps I could get the story published somewhere other than the blogosphere.

Freedom of Information requests were sent to HMRCs and the Attorney General's Office.

Both were to no avail.

For me, this story has a number of constitutional implications: one safeguard that helps to ensure that justice is being done, is the right for a member of the public to begin a private prosecution. I can't find any evidence of the dropping of the case being reported in Lexis Nexis Butterworths; that is, I'm not sure whether or not the dropping of the case was published in the local newspapers. I only heard the story by word of mouth at a party. So, how can this safeguard be implemented?

Another constitutional aspect to the case is that of scrutiny - the reason for dropping the case is still not known. Was a Shawcross exercise conducted with the result that the Attorney General intervened? Was there some other mechanism set forth?

What would historians make of the case? Or more precisely, how could they make anything of the case if there are no records for them to scrutinize?

Lastly, how common is this sort of thing?

No comments:

Post a Comment