Thursday 24 January 2019

David Drumm trial sees seven jurors excused from serving

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm arrives at the Courts of Criminal Justice. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm arrives at the Courts of Criminal Justice. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Alan O'Keeffe

The David Drumm fraud trial jury lost seven members this morning after the judge excused them from serving.

The seven jurors had been sworn in yesterday along with eight other jurors to serve in the trial of former Anglo-Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm who is charged with conspiracy to defraud and false accounting. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Judge Karen O'Connor had told potential jurors yesterday that the trial could take up to five months which would be a considerable time commitment for jury members.

The 12 member norm for juries was expanded to 15 for the Drumm case to deal the potential problems of jurors no longer being capable of continuing to serve as the weeks go by.

This morning, as the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court sitting got underway, Judge O'Connor announced that she had received correspondence from some jurors about their personal circumstances. She considered their requests overnight and she said she had decided to allow them be excused.

Referring to some of the requests, she said she was excusing them due to the time commitments of serving in the jury. The circumstances of three of the jurors meant it was "completely and utterly acceptable to excuse them."

The judge spoke with three other members of the jury and she also excused them from serving.

A seventh member of the original jury was excused shortly before 11am after a female juror asked to speak to the judge. The woman had told the judge yesterday she had "no excuses" not to serve but today she was allowed to approach the judge and she spoke quietly to her.

The judge then excused her and the empanelling process continued. Almost half of the jury was therefore being replaced today.

The loss of three men and four women from jury necessitated the empanelling of seven more members and the process of filling the empty positions began this morning.

Yesterday, 15 jurors were selected out of 97 people whose names were called by the court registrar. The majority of the 97 offered reasons why they should be excused and those excuses were accepted.

Mr Drumm is charged with conspiring with former Anglo executives John Bowe and Willie McAteer, former Irish Life and Permanent chief executive Denis Casey and others to defraud depositors, lenders and investors at Anglo by dishonestly creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2bn larger than they were.

Mr Drumm (51), who lives in Skerries, Co. Dublin, sat in the dock of the court today dressed in a dark suit and an open-necked blue shirt.

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