independent

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Former Anglo chief granted legal aid

Drumm in 'Catch 22; situation regarding finances, court told

David Drumm
David Drumm

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has been granted free legal aid for his upcoming conspiracy to defraud trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Karen O'Connor granted legal aid to pay for four barristers after hearing Mr Drumm was in a 'catch 22 situation' regarding his finances. She also noted he is an undischarged bankrupt.

The judge said her ruling is for the criminal matters only and that it has no bearing on any civil matters which may be in the pipeline.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions did not object to the application and said her main priority was a fair trial that was not delayed.

Documents to support the legal aid application were handed into court last Monday. Prosecuting counsel Mary Rose Gearty SC said the details in these documents have been verified by gardaí 'as much as possible'.

Ms Gearty said she realises the court might have concerns about the amount of assets Mr Drumm possesses. She said his assets are 'roughly what one would expect them to be'.

Ms Gearty said she doesn't know what will happen to Mr Drumm's pension but that there are 'related civil actions' in progress concerning the accused.

'If his pension is drawn down there are people waiting,' she said.

In support of the application Mr Drumm's solicitor Michael Staines said his client has been 'totally' co-operative with gardaí. He said it will be an 'extremely lengthy trial' which could last for three months.

Judge O'Connor, who considered the issue overnight, said the law states someone is entitled to legal aid if they have insufficient means to pay for representation and if the interests of justice demand it.

In granting the request, she noted Mr Drumm is facing allegations which carry a maximum of 10 years in prison on conviction.

The accused was granted legal aid for four barristers including a 'documents counsel' to handle the paperwork in the case. The defence requested this so it would have 'parity' with the State's four prosecution barristers.

Judge O'Connor denied a request from the DPP for reporting restrictions to be imposed on the media regarding the application. She noted the constitutional requirement that justice be done in public and said she was 'not satisfied the court is at the stage yet for reporting restrictions'.

However she urged the media to exercise caution in its reporting.

Mr Drumm (50), with an address in Skerries, will appear again on March 24 for a pre-trial hearing ahead of the trial which is expected to start in April.

He faces two charges of conspiring to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by 'dishonestly' creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2 billion larger than they were. He faces one additional charge in relation to the EU transparency directive. He has yet to enter a plea to the charges.

Fingal Independent

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