Monday 11 December 2017

Anglo auditor admits misleading previous trial

Kieran Kelly. Photo: Collins Courts.
Kieran Kelly. Photo: Collins Courts.
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Lawyers for former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick have questioned the reliability of a prosecution witness in his trial on charges of misleading auditors.

It came after Kieran Kelly, a partner at Ernst & Young who audited Anglo between 2002 and 2004, accepted he had given misleading evidence at a previous trial of Mr FitzPatrick.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday that at the previous trial in 2015, Mr Kelly said the witness statement he gave was his "own words" compiled under questioning from a garda and an official from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).

However, he now accepted this account was not correct. He said the incorrect version of events was due to him not remembering at the time of the previous trial the process used to take his statement.

Mr Kelly also admitted yesterday he had been wrong when he previously claimed he had not read any other witness statements before making his own.

He admitted he had in fact read a statement made by Vincent Bergin, another Ernst & Young auditor.

The jury has heard from Mr Fitzpatrick's defence team that the statement was compiled with input from the ODCE and lawyers working on behalf of Ernst & Young.

Defence barrister Bernard Condon has said Mr Kelly and Mr Bergin were "coached" in a manner deemed by two judges to have been unlawful.

Mr Condon said he had to put it to Mr Kelly that he was an "unreliable" witness.

"You remember evidence now you didn't before," he said.

"It is fair to say there is a question mark over the accuracy of your recall."

Responding, Mr Kelly said: "I always try to give answers at the point in time as best as I recall them."

The court heard that, subsequent to the previous trial, which did not come to a conclusion, Mr Kelly gave a statement to gardaí in January 2016 correcting mistaken testimony he gave in court.

Speaking about his previous testimony, given on May 14, 2015, he said: "I think it is fair to say that on May 14 I didn't remember the entirety of the process. So to that extent, I was answering from my recollection. My recollection wasn't complete."

His subsequent statement to gardaí came about after he reviewed files detailing the process through which his statement was taken. "This helped me remember and I thought it important at that point to come and clarify things," he said.

Mr Condon said he was not for a moment suggesting Mr Kelly had perjured himself or wilfully misled the court at the previous trial.

"It seems to me it was a lack of memory," the barrister said.

Mr Condon said that through circumstances Mr Kelly had given evidence that was misleading and when the opportunity arose he corrected it. Mr Kelly accepted this was the case.

Mr FitzPatrick (68), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, denies charges of misleading auditors about the size of multi-million-euro loans.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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