Bus driver who concealed illegal cigs avoids prison
A Ballymoney bus driver who allowed smugglers to hide over 100,000 contraband cigarettes in a trailer at his premises was freed when his nine-month jail term was suspended for two years.
Antrim Crown Court Judge Gordon Kerr QC told 53-year-old John Boyle that it was a tragedy for the courts to see someone of his age offending through simple greed or laziness, and then to contest the case and brazen the matter out.
Judge Kerr, sitting in Belfast's Laganside Courthouse, said Boyle, from Drumskea Road, Ballymoney, hoped to gain financially from the loan of his trailer. Prosecuting QC Roseanne McCormick said that Boyle had tried to claim that a number of persons had access to his premises and anyone of them could have used the trailer.
However, he now accepted that he was facilitating the storage of the cigarettes.
Ms McCormick said the 105,400 cigarettes were uncovered by police and Customs officials in April 2013 when they had gone in search of other counterfeit goods.
The lawyer added that the cost in lost duty was £30,000.
A defence lawyer said that Boyle had expressed his remorse.