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

Jean Minifie named Lady of the Year by Beta Sigma Phi chapter

The Beta Sigma Phi chapter held a dinner on Tuesday, April 17… Continue reading

Benjamin Circus headed to Kimberley

The Great Benjamin Circus is coming to the Kimberley Civic Centre on… Continue reading

RCMP warn of CRA scams

Callers re often threatened with jail or deportation

MLA Report

Quarterly report from MLA Doug Clovechok

Kimberley will go the distance with cardboard boats

For the Bulletin Time to save your cardboard and unroll your duct… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Fire near Baynes Lake

On Sunday, April 22, a fire was discovered in the Baynes Lake area.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read