Judge Elizabeth McGrath described the hurling publican as an “honest and fair witness” but believed that there was a lack of proper stocktaking practices at his pub.
According to a report in The Examiner, he denied breaching Revenue legislation by having 16.1 litres of spirits for sale in his pub without having paid the appropriate tax rate.
Following a visit by excise officials from Revenue to his bar on 29th January 2015, a sample from one of 23 bottles was taken and subsequently found by the State laboratories to be neither pure vodka nor Smirnoff which it purported to be.
The closure on the bottle and the Smirnoff labelling was “fake” according to an expert witness from Diageo.
Two Customs and Excise officials told the court that a visual inspection and the use of an ‘authenticator’ found discrepancies on a number of bottles labelled Smirnoff vodka and further testing found the samples to be counterfeit.
Lar Corbett was visually unable to tell a real bottle from the fake bottle in court and since purchasing the vodka from a wholesaler and an off-licence, he’d changed suppliers, he said.