Saturday 16 December 2017

Former DPP Hamilton says inquiry could jeopardise any future trials

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE former Director of Public Prosecutions says there is a "huge public interest" in the Anglo tapes revealed by the Irish Independent.

James Hamilton also said that it would be "foolish" for the Government to proceed with an Oireachtas banking inquiry before criminal trials take place.

"There is no doubt that the more publicity there is, the greater the risk," Mr Hamilton told RTE Radio.

"At the same time I have to accept there is huge public interest in all of this and it is very difficult to dampen things down and to expect that there will not be reporting of matters like this.

"The more material there is, the easier it is for a defendant to make an argument. I hope they won't be successful."

He added: "She (Claire Loftus, the current DPP) has a very difficult task in my view. I had to deal with similar cases in the past, though never perhaps quite as extreme as this situation."

And he said the proposed banking inquiry could jeopardise the running of any future trials.

"If we're talking now about trials taking place next year I think it would be very foolish to embark on a major inquiry before those trials take place," Mr Hamilton added.

"There is a danger at the very least that the defendants' lawyers will be able to go to court and say this man, our client, can't get a fair trial because the whole atmosphere now is poisoned against him."

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Michael Noonan called the tapes "appalling" but said they were over four years old and showed the wider bank culture across the world.

He was asked on RTE's 'The Week in Politics' about David Drumm staying in the United States and whether the Government could do anything to bring him back to Ireland.

"It's up to the prosecution authorities and the criminal justice authorities to deal with it," Mr Noonan said.

Irish Independent

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