Tuesday 25 October 2016

Jury on Sean FitzPatrick trial told start of evidence delayed

By Declan Brennan

Published 15/05/2015 | 18:04

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Sean FitzPatrick
Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Sean FitzPatrick

The start of the evidence in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick has been delayed again and is now not due to begin until late next week.

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At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this week Judge Mary Ellen Ring said that legal argument in the absence of the jury would continue for a number of days.

Jurors were told last week that an illness is causing difficulty in the trial which has been repeatedly delayed for the last three weeks.

They were asked then to return to court on Wednesday, but were subsequently notified that the case would not start in evidence before them until next Monday.

Judge Ring said they would be notified again by the Courts Service and told not to come back until next Thursday. She said that they will be told to “keep their phones on”.

On April 14 last Mr FitzPatrick (66) of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the Companies Act, 1990. 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.

The jury of six men and six women had been told that the trial would run for six weeks up until May 29 but immediate legal issues had to be dealt with before the evidence could be opened to the jury.

Legal argument began on April 16 and the jury were repeatedly notified by telephone that the opening of the trial before them would be delayed.

Last week Judge Ring tod the jury that the witness illness was causing “serious timetable problems”.

She apologised to the jurors and told them she could not say when the trial would actually start before them in evidence. She said people may have commitments and asked jurors to look at their positions and see if they had difficulties.

During the empanelment of the jury last month around 31 people were excused from jury service after giving reasons to the judge in private. The jury includes a housewife, a child care worker, a self employed property manager, a self employed computer programmer, an out of work IT worker, an engineer and a carpenter.

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

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’s also accused of failing to tell the auditors about arrangements between Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society in connection with loans to him by Irish Nationwide. 

Finally he’s accused of producing 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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