Concerns jury in Sean Fitzpatrick trial might 'come apart at seams'
THE prospect of a jury “coming apart at the seams” during the upcoming lengthy trial of former Anglo Irish Bank executives is being considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The trial of the bank’s former chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and two former directors was mentioned today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in order to check on the progress of the case.
Mr Fitzpatrick (64) of Whitshed Road, Greystones, William McAteer (62) of Auburn Villas, Rathgar and Pat Whelan (50) of Coast Road, Malahide have been charged with 16 counts of allegedly providing unlawful financial assistance to individuals to buy shares in the bank.
Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting told Judge Mary Ellen Ring that disclosure of evidence to the defence is on-going.
Judge Ring asked whether anything is being done with respect to issues which may arise to juries during the trial. The trial could take up to six months and involve 24 million documents in evidence.
She said that this could raise difficulties with respect to forming a jury and to preventing a jury from “coming apart at the seams”.
Ms Stuart said that the matter is being given some consideration by the DPP.
At a hearing earlier this year Judge Ring asked if, in light of the length of the trial, there has been any consideration given to amending the Juries Act to allow for alternate jurors to be sworn in. She noted that this is the practice in other jurisdictions.
The case is listed for mention again on July 3 next. The three accused are excused from attendance at court until further order. A trial date has already been set for January 13, 2014.