The owners of MGM Restaurant were awarded almost $1.7 million by the Supreme Court of B.C. in a lawsuit against the Canada Revenue Agency. (BLACK PRESS file photo)

Nanaimo restaurant owners awarded $1.7M in lawsuit

Supreme Court of B.C. justice finds CRA investigators were gleeful about anticipated prosecution

The owners of a restaurant in Nanaimo were awarded almost $1.7 million by the Supreme Court of B.C. in a lawsuit against the Canada Revenue Agency.

In a ruling Friday, Justice Robert Punnett found the CRA “vicariously liable” for the conduct of an investigator in prosecuting Tony and Helen Samaroo for tax evasion and found that the CRA’s conduct was “high-handed, reprehensible and malicious.”

In 2008, the Canada Revenue Agency issued an indictment against the the MGM Restaurant for allegedly skimming $1.7 million between 2004-2005 via incomplete reporting of sales summaries. However, the Samaroos were acquitted in 2011 after they were able to plausibly explain their bookkeeping.

In e-mailed communications during the investigation leading up to that trial, CRA employees joked about potential news coverage of a guilty verdict and whether it would “call for a guillotine.”

The Samaroos commenced their lawsuit in 2012, positing that CRA employees initiated a prosecution “without reasonable and probable grounds and with malice,” according to last week’s judgment. The defendant argued that there was no evidence to suggest that there wasn’t “reasonable and probable cause” for prosecution, “nor is there evidence that the defendants acted for a purpose other than to place the case before the court for adjudication.”

Punnett wrote in his judgment that after CRA employees “looked forward with unprofessional glee to the plaintiffs’ anticipated conviction and sentencing and their resulting ruination.”

Tony and Helen Samaroo, who no longer live together, were awarded $300,000 each in punitive damages and were awarded $750,000 in punitive damages and $347,732 in legal expenses.

The justice noted that “no amount of punitive damages will cause the CRA financial hardship.”

Just Posted

Crews respond to vehicle crash with cyclist south of Penticton

An ambulance was seen rushing toward Penticton with sirens on Wednesday afternoon

Defence lawyer Paul Varga retained in Penticton overdose homicide case

Varga appeared in court for Bourque, charged with manslaughter, to request disclosure from Crown

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Warbird Sentimental Journey visit cancelled

The scheduled Penticton visit of the B-17 Bomber “Sentimental Journey” has been… Continue reading

‘Salt in the wound’: Roadblocks for Penticton-area residents selling home

Residents say property managers holding up sale of Penticton-area mobile home shortly after eviction

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

UPDATED: Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

B.C. sets deadline for Indigenous salmon farm consent

All 120 operations will need agreements by 2022, province says

Family of 4 from Oregon believed to be missing in northern B.C.

RCMP, Search and Rescue crews searching area where vehicle was abandoned

Pickle Ball Depot picks up award

Vernon business earns Business Examiner’s Retailer of the Year

B.C. creates public registry to track real estate owners

The first registry of its kind in Canada aims to end the hidden property ownership

BC SPCA receives 400 reports of dogs in hot cars so far this year

Society is again urging people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe in the heat

Wineology: Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles cont.

Check out Okanagan sommelier Shanyn Ward’s new bi-weekly column

Most Read