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Friday 22 August 2014

FitzPatrick trial is put back until next February

Declan Brennan and Conor Gallagher

Published 22/05/2014 | 02:30

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Sean FitzPatrick
Sean FitzPatrick
Sean FitzPatrick arriving at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

THE trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick on charges of failing to tell the bank's auditors about loans he received has been put back to February of next year.

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Yesterday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, counsel for Mr FitzPatrick applied to delay the start of the trial, which had been fixed for October 7 next.

Michael O'Higgins SC said that the defence needed more time to examine the significant amount of evidence disclosed to them. He told the court that legal teams for both sides had been fully engaged in the previous trial that ended in April.

He also said this trial had attracted an enormous amount of publicity and that there should be a fade factor in place to allow the next trial to take place in a more tranquil context.

He said that Mr FitzPatrick's subsequent acquittal had resulted in some agitation on social media.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring asked why the need for an adjournment had not been raised earlier by either side given that some of these issues would have been "blindingly obvious".

Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC, prosecuting, told the court that a team of people was working flat-out on the pre-trial planning and scheduling.

Judge Ring relisted the trial, which is expected to last two months, for February 2, 2015. She set a new pre-trial hearing date for December 1 next.

She said the court would not entertain any more applications to adjourn the trial and that a number of people who were in custody for other offences had been refused an early trial date because the court dates had been blocked by this trial.

Mr FitzPatrick (65), of Camaderry, Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, is charged under Section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.

He faces 12 counts of failing to disclose to auditors Ernst & Young the true value of loans worth at least €139m given to him or people connected to him, by Irish Nationwide Building Society from 2002 to 2007 while he was an officer of the bank.

Mr FitzPatrick was present in court for the short hearing.

Irish Independent

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