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The Queen v. Jacob W. (St. Catharines)

The Case: The Queen v. Jacob W., St. Catharines, 2010

The Facts: Jacob W. was the owner of a successful bar. He was charged with evading income tax and GST over a ten year period, on the basis that the Canada Revenue Agency believed that his sales were higher than what he reported on his tax return. The CRA executed search warrants against his place of business, his home, and his bank accounts. They even sent undercover agents to eat at the restaurant and spy on how the restaurant operated. In addition, he was assessed civil penalties of more than $100,000.

The Defence Strategy: We carefully reviewed the government’s evidence and found it to be based on some sloppy investigation, speculation and premature conclusions by investigators that were not based on the actual evidence collected. The CRA has a lot of power and they were putting heavy pressure on Jacob W. to plead guilty, even threatening to seize his family’s home and put him out of business. We pushed for an early trial date. We thoroughly and carefully cross-examined the lead investigators and analysts who had concluded that tax evasion had been committed. We meticulously dissected each of their findings to show that their conclusions were not sustainable; in fact, in many instances, they failed to follow their own policies and guidelines.

The Result: At the conclusion of a hard-fought trial, the court dismissed the charges and found that the Crown had failed to prove the case. Jacob W. was found Not Guilty. The civil penalties were later dropped as well.

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