Sunday 25 August 2019

Ex-Anglo official appealing conviction for conspiring to conceal accounts refused bail

Bernard Daly (67)
Bernard Daly (67)

Ruaidhrí Giblin

An ex-Anglo Irish Bank official jailed for conspiring to conceal bank accounts from the Revenue Commissioners has been refused bail for a second time pending his appeal against conviction in January.

Bernard Daly (67), of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to furnishing false information and conspiring to defraud the Revenue Commissioners as well as conspiring to delete accounts from the bank's internal system.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to two years imprisonment by Judge Patrick McCartan on July 31 last.

Lawyers for Daly, who was the bank's former company secretary, told the Court of Appeal last month that his trial was unfair from beginning to end.

He was refused bail on that occasion and made a renewed application last week with his position “fortified” by the trial transcript, according to his barrister Seán Guerin SC.

Refusing bail for a second time today, Mr Justice Goerge Birmingham said it was not possible to establish whether Daly's appeal had a strong chance of success at this stage.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the real issue in Daly's trial was whether the prosecution could prove that Daly knew the list he handed over to the Revenue was incomplete.

Evidence in that regard came from the bank's former head of compliance Mr Brian Gillespie, the judge said.

During the course of his evidence, Mr Gillespie described a conversation he had with Daly in which Daly allegedly asked him if he would delete an account from the list to be sent to the Revenue and Mr Gillespie said 'no'.

Mr Guerin said the trial judge agreed to give an accomplice warning to the jury in repsect of Mr Gillespie's evidence but the warning was “meaningless”.

Mr Guerin was "severely critical" of the trial judge's approach, Mr Justice Birmingham said, because he did not warn the jury on the dangers of convicting on the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice and did not adequately put the defence's alleged contention to the jury that Mr Gillespie was "an actual participant in the crime".

Unconvinced that this was a point of real substance, Mr Justice Birmingham said there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Gillespie was the source of information for the person in authority or that it was information from him that precipitated the email of November 12. “This was a defence theory,” he said.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the court did not believe the trial judge was obliged to repeat the defence case to the jury which was “essentially an invitation to the jury to speculate”.

The court accepted the significance of the issue raised about the need for an accomplice warning and the adequacy of what was actually said by the trial judge.

However, in the absence of an overview of the case as a whole it was very difficult to assess just how much substance there was in the point, he said.

“It is obviously a point that will demand considerable attention at the hearing of the appeal,” Mr Justice Birmingham said.

He said the points raised were not being dismissed but it was not possible at this stage to hold that there was a strong chance of success on this point.

In those circumstances and where an appeal has been listed for hearing next January, Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court was not prepared to grant bail.

The court has set aside three days for his appeal on January 13 next.

Daly's co-accused, Tiarnan O'Mahoney (56), of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, will also move to appeal his conviction on that date. He did not seek bail last week.

Aoife Maguire (62), of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, has not sought bail but was given a priority hearing date of December 23 next for her appeal against sentence.

Maguire, a former assistant manager in the bank, had denied conspiring to delete bank accounts connected to Mr Seán Fitzpatrick from the bank's internal system and conspiring to defraud the Revenue Commissioners on dates in 2003 and 2004.

O'Mahoney, the bank's former Chief Operations Officer, had denied knowingly furnishing false information to the Revenue, conspiring to have accounts deleted from the bank's internal system and conspiring to defraud the Revenue.

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