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

Top 5 places to take your dog in Kelowna

Here are our top five places to take your furry friend

COSAR makes Kelowna Law Day debut

The search and rescue team was on scene as Girl Guides were arrested left and right

Kelowna woman runs to beat hunger

Teri Kanner is collecting donations for the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank

Battle of the concert bands in Lake Country

The annual Concert Band competition is held at Creekside Theatre April 24 to 26

Snoozed through the news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, the Capital News will feature popular stories from the week

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read