Friday 23 February 2018

Arguments, 'ridicule' and a touch of movie glamour on tense day in Court 19

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

MANY spectators have passed through Court 19 of the Criminal Courts of Justice over the last 10 weeks to witness the trial, historic in many respects, of three former Anglo Irish bank executives.

Yesterday it was the turn of the celebrated film maker Jim Sheridan to drop by, bringing a touch of star quality to the ever sombre Anglo trial.

The presence of the six-time Academy Award nominee, best known for films such as 'My Left Foot' and 'In The Name Of The Father', provided an alternative focus of interest in an otherwise tense day of proceedings as the prosecution and defence vied for the vote of the jury in their closing submissions.

Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan, representing Pat Whelan – former head of lending in Ireland for Anglo – told the jury that one spectator had been in the court on Wednesday "to give them (the three men) a fair trial and hang them".

In his closing submission, Mr Grehan implored the jury that it was vital they divorce themselves from "that kind of thinking, from not thinking you are somehow here to satisfy the baying for blood of the mob".

Whatever about external pressures, internal pressures are also asserting themselves in the final stages of the trial.

Mr Grehan rounded on prosecution counsel Paul O'Higgins SC for "gratuitously ridiculing" Seamus Ross, the well-known builder and one of the so-called Maple 10 borrowers who gave evidence in the trial.

Mr O'Higgins had earlier suggested it is worth following Mr Ross around Dublin because €20m might fall out of his pocket and he wouldn't notice.

Mr Grehan invited the jury to decide whether the allegedly illegal deal to lend to the Maple 10 was in fact a "noble" plan suggested by the Office of the Financial Regulator.


Michael O'Higgins SC, representing former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick, told the jury of seven men and seven women – ultimately 12 will decide the men's fate – that there is a sea of detail in the case, with only a very small rock pool of it relating to the man described as the face of Anglo.

The trial continues this morning with further submissions from the defence to be followed by trial judge Martin Nolan's charge.

Irish Independent

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