Tuesday 25 October 2016

Two jurors discharged in Sean FitzPatrick trial after they encountered 'insurmountable difficulties'

Shane Phelan Legal Affairs Editor

Published 17/10/2016 | 11:55

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick
Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick

Two jurors have been discharged in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

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Judge John Aylmer agreed to free the two jurors after they encountered “insurmountable difficulties” and were unable to continue.

The remaining 13 jurors are now expected to begin hearing the case on October 26.

The trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court is expected to be concluded by Christmas.

Jurors had originally been scheduled to begin hearing evidence today.

However, Judge Aylmer told the jury that a legal matter they were informed of at the outset was still being dealt with.

He said he had been informed a male juror wished to step down due to bereavement and he agreed to allow this.

The judge also agreed to let go a female juror who said she was unable to support herself on social welfare for the course of the trial and had gotten a job.

She said he had been told she was only entitled to €67 euro-a-week.

“I can’t live on that. I started a new full-time job last week,” she said.

Judge Aylmer told the remaining jurors the court was “very grateful” they had agreed to be empanelled for the trial.

“If any of you have a difficulty in the back of your mind about continuing, now is the time to raise it,” he said.

Judge Aylmer said the trial was scheduled to conclude by Christmas and he had not been told anything to suggest that would change.

Mr FitzPatrick (68), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, is facing 27 separate charges of misleading Anglo's auditors Ernst & Young.

He has denied the charges.

The charges against Mr FitzPatrick include 21 counts of making misleading, false or deceptive statements to the auditors of Anglo Irish Bank, contrary to section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.

The offences allegedly occurred on dates between 2002 and 2007 and carry a maximum five year jail term.

They include five counts alleging Mr FitzPatrick did not disclose to auditors Ernst & Young arrangements temporarily reducing the balance of loans to him or persons connected to him at the end of the financial year.

The reductions cited ranged in size from €4.3m to €88.9m.

He also faces six charges of giving false information contrary to section 242 of the Companies Act 1990 on dates between 2002 and 2008.

The offences carry a maximum jail term of three years.

These counts relate to Mr FitzPatrick allegedly producing financial statements giving a false figure for the aggregate value of loans to directors of Anglo.

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