Fruit and Vegetable business man has been jailed for six years for a €1.6 million scam involving the importation of garlic. He avoided paying customs duty on over a thousand tonnes of garlic from China by having them labeled as apples. The maximum sentence for the offence is five years in prison or a fine of three times the value of the goods.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed the maximum term on one count and one year on another count. These are to run consecutively, meaning a total of six years. However, the judge added he had engaged in a “grave” and “huge” tax evasion scheme. The import tax on garlic “may or may not” be excessive, he said but that this was for the Oireachtas to decide and not individuals.He said he had to impose a significant jail term because such offences are difficult to uncover and therefore the only effective deterrence is lengthy prison terms for those who are caught. Patrick O Rourke , Partner OkellySutton , Kildare. www.okellysutton.ie