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【新聞】控告餐館老闆 加拿大稅局被指惡意檢控反賠170萬

Photo by Pam Menegakis on Unsplash

 

文章出處:加拿大明報

英文版:https://goo.gl/E8hRpp

2018.03.07 發表

(維多利亞6日加新社電)卑詩省最高法院法官裁定﹐加拿大稅務部賠償將近170萬元﹐補償溫哥華島一對夫婦的損失。法官斥責稅務局﹐說它用高壓手段﹐採取惡意行動﹐破壞兩人的企業和個人生活。

卑詩省最高法院龐尼特法官(Justice Robert Punnett)說﹐納奈莫(Nanaimo)居民薩馬魯夫婦(Tony and Helen Samaroo)受到極端惡劣的檢控﹐稅務局沒有確實理據﹐懷疑兩人隱瞞餐館及其他業務應繳稅款。

薩馬魯夫妻2008年在納奈莫經營一家餐館﹑夜總會及汽車旅店﹐稅務局控告他們21項逃稅罪名﹐指他們隱瞞170萬元生意。

省法庭2010年裁定所有控罪不成立﹐庭審法官認為﹐控方胡亂計算數字。

薩馬魯夫婦控告稅務局惡意起訴他們﹐指檢察官瓊斯(Brian Jones)﹑加拿大稅務和它的資深調查員肯達爾(Keith Kendal)針對他們﹐而控方沒有直接證據﹐證明有人違法。

龐尼特的裁判書說﹐瓊斯未能運用「檢察官酌情權」﹐但他沒有惡意。法官抨擊稅務局與肯達爾﹐裁定薩馬魯夫婦應得懲罰性與嚴重損失賠償。

法官又批評肯達爾一開始就誤導控方﹐認定他清楚知道無法搜證﹐收集必要文件﹐證明有人瞞稅。

薩馬魯夫婦追討600萬元懲罰性賠償﹐指答辯人侵犯他們的憲章權利﹐法官龐尼特判處75萬元賠償。此外﹐法官判兩原訴人各可獲30萬元嚴重損失賠償﹐34.8萬元訴訟費。

 

 

文章出處:加拿大明報

2018.03.05 發表

‘Malicious’ tax agency must pay $1.6M in damages to Nanaimo couple

A Nanaimo couple has been awarded $1.6 million in damages against the Canada Revenue Agency for “high-handed, reprehensible and malicious” prosecution.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Punnett has found that senior CRA investigator Keith Kendal maliciously prosecuted Tony and Helen Samaroo, owners of a restaurant, nightclub and motel in Nanaimo.

The CRA investigated the Samaroos for tax evasion during the years 2004-2006. On June 12, 2008, the Samaroos were charged with 21 counts of tax evasion. They were alleged to have skimmed $1.7 million from their restaurant between 2004 and 2005. On April 6, 2011, after a 19-day trial in provincial court, the Samaroos were acquitted of all charges. The Samaroos later sued the Canada Revenue Agency.

Punnett found that Kendal acted deliberately to subvert and abuse his office.

“He did so by suppressing evidence and attributing evidence to witnesses that was not accurate. He had decided from the beginning of his involvement with the Samaroos that they were guilty and set out to prove that was the case even if to do so required a breach of his proper role and responsibility,” Punnett wrote in the reasons for judgment.

The Samaroos also sued Crown prosecutor Brian Jones for malicious prosecution. Punnett dismissed this claim, finding that Jones’s recollection was poor and inconsistent and that he was confused about the case.

“The evidence reveals a casual inattention to exercising his prosecutorial role and responsibilities,” Punnett wrote. “I found that he too readily left control of the prosecution, disclosure and decision making to his client, the CRA.”

Jones did not intentionally abuse the role of Crown prosecutor, said the judge.

“He struck me as a lawyer who, through negligence or otherwise, gave up control of the prosecution to Mr. Kendal and the CRA and in doing so risked a miscarriage of justice.”

The allegations against the Samaroos were that they evaded taxes in 2004 and 2005 by failing to provide one of three daily till tapes to their bookkeeper. But new evidence arose and the prosecution had no evidence to prove whether the Samaroos were providing only two of the three till tapes to their bookkeeper.

“The prosecution should never have proceeded,” Punnett said.

Kendal continued to pursue the prosecution on a theory he could not prove, Punnett said.

Kendal did not start from a neutral position, Punnett said. He had his mind made up from the beginning and set out to have the Samaroos charged and convicted. “His sole interest was to collect incriminating evidence and to discount or ignore evidence that did not support his prejudgment,” Punnett found.

The CRA prosecution has had a devastating impact on the Samaroos both personally and financially, Punnett wrote. It ended their desire and ability to develop and grow their business. It significantly strained their family life.

The Samaroo children testified that the charges changed the lively, joyous family home they grew up in. Helen and Tony became quiet and depressed. RCMP officers, who used to be good customers, stopped coming to their MGM restaurant.

Helen Samaroo said her life was turned upside down by the charges.

She felt that others now looked at her differently and she felt embarrassed to go to the restaurant and visit with her customers.

“She said she had worked hard to build up her reputation as a reputable nightclub operator and felt that the charges had ruined her reputation,” the judge wrote. “She testified that the charges had a significant impact on her husband who became stressed and got quieter and quieter, and over time worked less and less and stopped socializing.”

Helen testified that she had a breakdown and took to bed for six months. Even with the acquittal, she will never feel the same, she told the court.

“They are entitled to substantial compensation for their suffering with respect to their humiliation, loss of self-confidence, loss of self-esteem, stress, damage to their reputations and the like and the impact that has had on their business and personal lives,” Punnett concluded.

“This is truly egregious behaviour,” said Victoria lawyer Steve Kelliher, who represents the Samaroos.

“The judge makes reference to an unfortunate culture within the CRA. This is not a one-off. This is a systemic issue.”

Kelliher said the defence mounted by the CRA in this case was that it had done nothing wrong and would do exactly the same thing again, given the opportunity. “That’s why the aggravated and punitive damages are so high.”

The CRA continues to prosecute the Samaroos in tax court, using the same witness and on the same theory and evidence that was rejected at the criminal trial and found to be malicious prosecution in B.C. Supreme Court, he said.

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