Saturday 23 March 2019

Ex-IL&P chief Denis Casey loses conspiracy case appeal

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Shane Phelan Legal Affairs Editor

Former Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) chief executive Denis Casey has lost his Supreme Court appeal against his conviction for a €7.2bn conspiracy to mask the true financial state of Anglo Irish Bank, shortly before its collapse a decade ago.

Casey was jailed for two years and nine months in July 2016 after being found guilty of a conspiracy to defraud.

The case revolved around a series of transactions between the two financial institutions which gave the impression deposits at Anglo were €7.2bn larger than was actually the case during the financial year ending September 30, 2008.

His co-accused, Anglo executives John Bowe and Willie McAteer, were also jailed for their part in the conspiracy.

Although he has completed his jail term, Casey mounted two successive challenges to his conviction. An appeal to the Court of Appeal was rejected in June 2017, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear a further appeal on the basis Casey had raised a point of general public importance in relation to whether a defence of "officially induced error" should have been available to him.

The trial judge found it could not be used as a defence and could only be used in seeking to mitigate a sentence.

In his appeal, Casey argued he should have been allowed to mount such a defence, claiming the regulator was aware of the transactions and that they were encouraged as part of a "green jersey agenda", where Irish banks supported each other.

Yesterday, a five-judge Supreme Court rejected Casey's appeal.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton said there was nothing in evidence before the trial judge which would have enabled a plea of officially induced error to succeed.

"The trial judge was correct in ruling out any mention of any such defence before the jury," he said. The other four judges on the court agreed with Mr Justice Charleton's ruling and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. Lawyers for Casey claimed the financial regulator "raised no quibble" about the transactions when Anglo's interim financial results were published in December 2008.

But in his ruling, Mr Justice Charleton pointed out that Casey had testified he did not ask the regulator for advice in advance of the transactions.

The judge said that for defence of officially induced error, an accused must prove he went in good faith to seek legal advice from the authorities on the lawfulness of a proposed transaction.

What the authorities advise in response must also be specific and unequivocally authorise what was proposed.

Irish Independent

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