Rogue waste operator Jim Ferry avoided being jailed for contempt of court this morning after the High Court granted an adjournment to allow him time to inspect financial documents held by the Gardaí, which relate to his business.
The case is being taken against Mr Ferry by Donegal County Council.
At a sitting last month, Mr Justice Max Barrett made an order to allow forensic accountant, Mr Gerard Murray to inspect documents, that had been seized in a raid carried out by the Gardaí in Letterkenny and which relate Mr Ferry’s waste business.
The accountant said in a report that Mr Ferry had not accounted for money generated from his dumping activities in Donegal.
Mr Richard Lyons SC, appearing for the council, told the court that Mr Ferry had operated two sets of accounts for his waste business, one for official purposes and the other, the "cooked books" for personal purposes, which was allegedly done to under-declare tax.
This process, according to Mr Murray’s report, is known as "sales skimming" and is a form of fraud, the court was told.
Mr Éanna Molloy, senior counsel acting on behalf of Mr Ferry, told the court that the "sword of Damocles" was hanging over his client and that he was entitled to be able to address the "moving parts" contained in Mr Murray’s report.
Mr Molloy also told the court that Mr Ferry is "potentially facing more serious criminal prosecutions."
He said that his client faced the possibility of being sent to Mountjoy Jail and that he was entitled to meet the expertise of the opposing side. He said Mr Ferry should be allowed to inspect the financial documents held at Letterkenny Garda Station, given that Mr Murray had access to these.
Mr Justice Max Barrett ruled that "fair procedures require me to accede to the application" for a further adjournment. This will allow Mr Ferry’s side to inspect those records held at the Garda station.
Last year, Mr. Ferry featured in the RTÉ Investigates-Ireland’s Wild Waste programme.