Belfast Telegraph

Top throat specialist guilty over £400k tax shortfall

By Michael Donnelly

One of Northern Ireland's former leading throat specialists has pleaded guilty to cheating the taxman of more than £400,000.

Dr Francis Gerard D'Arcy - an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist - appeared in court yesterday where he admitted four charges of "cheating the Public Revenue".

The 73-year-old, from Belfast's Malone Road, who also specialised in case of industrial deafness, will be sentenced next month.

Although no details were given to Belfast Crown Court, it is understood that the case involves income tax payments of around £450,000.

At a hearing in January, the court heard that the specialist blamed his "appalling" administration system. "This is where the problem arises, my administration was appalling," said Dr D'Arcy during interviews with HM Revenue and Customs.

"While I did my best I realise I was under-declaring. I had a very poor recording system, to my shame. It [income tax returns] is way, way under because my system for doing it was poor.

"I didn't have a proper system in place for checking it out, that was my downfall," he added.

"It was a crazy system I ran, I was sending those sheets out but not declaring the right thing. My tax returns were in chaos."

Defence QC Frank O'Donoghue said while the sums of money involved were "quite substantial, those monies have been paid in full to the Revenue and there are no monies outstanding".

He added that as a consequence there would be "no proceeds of crime applications".

Mr O'Donoghue also told Mr Justice Weir that in addition to "a bundle" of medical reports handed into court for consideration, he would ask for a pre-sentence report from probation, to be made.

Dr D'Arcy has been released after prosecution QC Liam McCollum said there was no objection to continuing bail in his case.

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