Friday 2 December 2016

Jury discharged in trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick

Published 02/06/2015 | 14:15

Sean Fitzpatrick leaves court. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sean Fitzpatrick leaves court. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

THE jury in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick has been discharged.

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A new jury will now be sworn in when the case come back before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court later this year.

Mr FitzPatrick (66), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has denied 27 charges he is facing under the Companies Act 1990 over allegedly failing to disclose the true value of multi-million euro loans.

These include 21 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and six charges of furnishing false information.

The charges are in connection with the disclosure of loans allegedly given to him or people connected to him by Irish Nationwide Building Society from 2002 to 2007 while he was an officer of Anglo Irish Bank.

This afternoon, Judge Mary Ellen Ring told the eleven remaining members of the jury - five men and six women - they were free to go.

Judge Ring had already excused the jury foreman a fortnight ago.

The jury did not hear any evidence in the case, which has been in legal argument since it was empanelled on April 14.

Judge Ring thanked the jury for its patience and discharged them from future jury service for a period of seven years.

“We have now reached a position where legal matters have been dealt with and disposed of,” she said.

“It is clearly a trial that is not going to last eight weeks. It is going to take a longer period.

“I am left in a position where I will have to discharge you from jury service and at another time engage another jury with this matter.”

She said the jury had been placed in an “unfortunate” situation, but it would not have been possible for the legal issues to be dealt with unless it had been empanelled.

“We are labouring under procedures that are clearly out of date,” the judge said.

The case has now been relisted for October 5.

While the legal argument was underway, jurors were notified by telephone on a number of occasions that the opening of the trial would be delayed.

They were also called back to the court on four occasions to be updated on the situation.

Last month Judge Ring told them the illness of a witness was causing “serious timetable problems”.

Mr FitzPatrick is accused of failing to disclose the true amount of loans to him or people connected with him to Anglo’s auditors, Ernst and Young.

The prosecution claims he authorised arrangements to ensure that the balance of those loans would be reduced or appear to be reduced at the end of the bank’s financial year and failed to tell the auditors about those arrangements.

He is also accused of failing to tell the auditors about arrangements between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide in connection with loans to him from the building society.

It is also alleged the former Anglo chairman produced financial statements about the value of loans to Anglo’s directors which failed to include the true amounts outstanding by him to the bank.

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