(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

CRA wins appeal against B.C. couple who alleged ‘malicious’ tax evasion probe

A lower court had handed down a $1.7M award to the couple earlier

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has set aside a $1.7-million damage award to a Vancouver Island couple who a lower court had said were ruined through the “malicious” actions of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Tony and Helen Samaroo were operating a restaurant, night club and motel in Nanaimo in 2008 when they were charged with 21 counts of tax evasion for allegedly skimming $1.7 million from their businesses.

They were acquitted of all charges in provincial court in 2010 in what the judge hearing the case agreed amounted to the Crown using “voodoo accounting” to support its case, and the couple then sued for malicious prosecution.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last year that the Samaroos were the victims of an “egregious” prosecution based on an unfounded theory and suspicion about the alleged tax evasion.

READ MORE: Restaurant owners awarded $1.7M in lawsuit against Canada Revenue Agency

But in a decision released Tuesday on behalf of the three-judge panel, Justice David Harris says the trial judge was wrong to base his analysis on the idea that tax evasion can’t be proven without also proving exactly how it was done.

As a result, Harris says the judge dismissed some relevant evidence as “mere hypothesis,” instead of recognizing there was a reasonable and probable cause to launch a case.

Because the analysis was faulty, Harris says it’s unnecessary to look at whether the trial judge erred in his conclusion that the Crown was motivated by malice or the investigator for the Canada Revenue Agency acted for an “improper purpose.”

“When the correct legal test is applied properly to the elements of the offence, with a correct onus of proof in a claim of malicious prosecution, and viewing the issue objectively, the Samaroos cannot succeed in showing that there was an absence of reasonable and probable cause to initiate and continue the prosecution,” the decision says.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Steven Manchur, who lives near the proposed site of supportive housing in Central Saanich on Prosser Road, said the province has misinformed the public about the site. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Central Saanich residents protest supportive housing project

BC Housing rejects claim that project will lead to more crime

A sewage pipe is pulled along Niagara Street in James Bay in 2018 as part of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater treatment plant project. Over the next 10 years, the city will complete 78 new underground infrastructure projects, upgrading sewage, stormwater and water main pipes. (Black Press Media file photo)
Construction begins on Victoria’s 10-year pipe replacement project

78 underground infrastructure projects will cost $53.8 million

Father Marinaldo Batista, who served at Catholic parishes in Saanich and Sooke, died April 1 in Brazil from complications of COVID-19. (Facebook/St. Elizabeth Church)
Brazilian priest who served in Saanich and Sooke dies from COVID-19

Father Marinaldo Batista, 53, went to Brazil to visit his parents and died there April 1

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Arson suspect arrested after apartment fire in Nanaimo

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Small wildfire burning in difficult terrain near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating, but confirms blaze is human-caused

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

Most Read