Monday 23 October 2017

DPP seek access for Sean FitzPatrick trial transcripts

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick leaving Dublin Criminal Court
Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick leaving Dublin Criminal Court

Declan Brennan

Lawyers for the Director of Public Prosecutions have sought access for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to transcripts of the Sean FitzPatrick trial.

The trial collapsed earlier this week after 127 days when Judge John Aylmer heavily criticised the ODCE investigation and directed an acquittal on all charges.

Mr FitzPatrick (68) of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow had denied misleading Anglo's auditors about multi-million euro loans linked to him and his family.

This morning at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Dominic McGinn SC told Judge Aylmer that the ODCE wanted access to transcripts of the trial. The ODCE staff were excluded for much of the very extensive legal argument that was a feature of the trial on foot of an application by the defence.

The details of coaching of witnesses from Anglo's auditors Ernst & Young and contamination of their statements by lawyers for Ernst & Young and ODCE investigators only emerged during the defence cross-examination of State witnesses.

Mr McGinn today told Judge Aylmer that the DPP have a copy of the trial transcripts and can liaise with the ODCE.

Judge Aylmer said he didn't think the court needed to give permission as the documents are a public record of a trial held in open court. He said in case permission was needed, the court had no issue with the ODCE getting the transcripts.

On Wednesday the ODCE stated that it would prepare, with the highest priority, a report into the collapse of the trial and would seek transcripts of the trial to do this.

Mr FitzPatrick had pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act. These included 22 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and five charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002 to 2007. The DPP withdrew nine of these charges earlier this month after conceding there was insufficient evidence for those.

The prosecution came on foot of an investigation by the ODCE that began shortly after the full size of Mr FitzPatrick's personal loans emerged in December 2008.

Loans taken out by Mr FitzPatrick, his wife and family members increased from in the region of €10 million in 2002 to around €100 million in 2007.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News