Two former directors of a Belfast skip hire company are to stand trial over the alleged non-payment of nearly £3 million in landfill taxes, a judge ruled today.
Thomas Bates, 44, and Gary Bates, 42, are also both accused of waste deposit and pollution offences.
The pair face a total of five charges each in connection with their running of Ace Bates Skip Hire Ltd.
The alleged offences include two counts each of unlawfully depositing controlled waste and keeping controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health.
A fifth charge involves acquiring criminal property, namely £2.9m of unpaid landfill tax and more than £500,000 due in VAT.
These amounts are alleged to have been the proceeds of the unlawful deposit and keeping of controlled waste at a site on Ballyutoag Road in Belfast.
Ace Bates Skip Hire Ltd is also charged with the same offences, which cover a period between May 2007 and August 2011.
Thomas Bates, of Ballysillan Road, Belfast, and Gary Bates, with an address at Uppre Crumlin Road in the city, are reported to have been directors in the firm until last October.
They appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court today along with a company representative for a preliminary enquiry hearing.
A defence lawyer argued they could not be held liable for any alleged landfill tax evasion.
But District Judge Ken Nixon refused to vary the charges and held that a prima facie case was established against the defendants.
None of the defendants called witnesses or gave evidence during the hearing.
They were returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed and released on £250 bail each.