Friday 20 April 2018

Anglo case: Two out of three jailed officials lodge appeals

Tiarnan O’Mahoney (56)
Tiarnan O’Mahoney (56)

Conor Gallagher

TWO of the three Anglo Irish Bank officials who were jailed last month for hiding accounts connected to Sean FitzPatrick from Revenue have lodged appeals.

Lawyers on behalf of former Anglo head of treasury Tiarnan O’Mahoney and former assistant manager Aoife Maguire filed their appeal papers with the Court of Appeal office earlier this week.

Former assistant manager Aoife Maguire (62)
Former assistant manager Aoife Maguire (62)

O’Mahoney and Maguire, along with former company secretary Bernard Daly, were jailed by Judge Patrick McCartan last month following an eight week trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. 

O’Mahoney, as the most senior official on trial, received three years. Daly received two years while Maguire, who was the most junior of the three, received an 18 month term. They are the first Anglo bankers to be jailed since the crash

Daly (67) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, O'Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and Maguire (62) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin had pleaded not guilty to seven counts of conspiring to hide or delete accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick in 2003 and 2004 so they could not be assessed by Revenue for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).

O’Mahoney is appealing both his conviction by the jury and the length of his sentence. Maguire is appealing the length of her sentence only. Daly has yet to lodge an appeal but has until Friday to do so. Appeals must be lodged within 28 days of sentence but exceptions can be made if the court allows it.

In the coming weeks the defence teams will indicate on what grounds they intend to appeal before the prosecution files its response. The recently revamped appeal mechanism means their cases may be heard in the first half of 2016. With 25 percent remission for good behaviour, Maguire is due for release in mid-September 2016.

Appeals against conviction are usually based on points of law raised during a trial. Lawyers for O’Mahoney will likely base his appeal around the evidence that was admitted to the trial over the objections of the defence.

At the beginning of the trial O’Mahoney’s counsel strenuously objected to the admission of former Anglo fraud officer Patrick Peake as a witness. Mr Peake was the main prosecution witness in the case. He took the jury through hundreds of pages of bank records showing that several accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick had been tampered with.

During more than a week of legal argument in the absence of the jury the defence argued unsuccessfully that Mr Peake should not be allowed give evidence because of his involvement in the bank’s earlier dealings with Revenue in 1999.

O’Mahoney’s lawyers may also raise the allegation of an anonymous caller who phoned the DPP’s office shortly before the verdict was delivered to say that the jury foreman’s wife was a friend of Maguire. Judge McCartan dismissed the allegation at the time after the foreman said he had no knowledge of this.

Regarding the appeal against severity of sentence, O’Mahoney and Maguire are likely to argue that their sentences were unduly harsh given that they were acting under orders from higher-up to delete the accounts, particularly in the case of Maguire who was described by her defence as a “minion” or “gofer”, on the lowest rung of the ladder.

The defence may also argue that the sentences are not based in law given that the crime of conspiracy to defraud is a common law offence and therefore has no prescribed maximum sentence. Before sentencing Judge McCartan said that he would treat the maximum as five years as this was the sentence laid down for similar offences detailed in the statute book.

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