Wednesday 21 November 2018

Jurors warned against researching case online as ex-Anglo boss pleads not guilty

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

Shane Phelan and Alan O'Keeffe

Jurors in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm have been warned not to do any research about the case on the internet.

The warning was issued by Judge Karen O'Connor after an enlarged jury of eight men and seven women was selected at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

"The evidence you will hear will be in the courtroom only. It is based on that evidence that you will decide matters," she said.

Mr Drumm has denied charges of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

The charges relate to so-called €7.2bn "back-to-back" transactions involving Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) in 2008.

It is alleged Mr Drumm conspired with former Anglo executives John Bowe and Willie McAteer, former IL&P chief executive Denis Casey and others to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by dishonestly creating the impression that deposits in 2008 were €7.2bn larger than they were.

Mr Drumm (51), with an address in Skerries, Co Dublin, spoke only to say "not guilty" when the two charges were put to him. His trial is set to be a lengthy one, with Judge O'Connor telling jurors they needed to be available for five months.

The 15 jurors were selected out of 97 people whose names were called by the court registrar.

Six potential jurors were challenged by the defence team and one by the prosecution team, while the remainder not selected were excused for a variety of reasons.

Due to the nature of the case, a number of categories of people were excluded from being jurors.

Judge O'Connor said these included people who were employed by Anglo or held Anglo shares, as well as people who were employed by IL&P or associated companies, or who held shares in IL&P or those companies.

Also disqualified were people with strong views generally about Anglo and who felt they may not be able to deal with matters fairly or impartially.

People who have expressed views in public, including via social media, about the banking crisis were also asked not to serve.

Current or former staff at the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank, the Department of Finance or any Government body with an involvement in dealing with the financial crisis were also ruled ineligible.

Qualified accountants were also excluded, as well as people with connections to professional services companies EY and PwC Ireland.

Following the selection of jurors, Judge O'Connor sent them home and asked them to return today.

Earlier, Judge O'Connor told jurors their role was crucial to the system of justice and she warned they should not research any aspect of the case online. She said material gleaned from the internet was not evidence and it was impossible to check the veracity of it.

The judge said it was "dangerous" to research matters online and such actions could collapse the trial, causing "enormous expense and administrative difficulties".

Judge O'Connor also warned jurors they would not be allowed to talk to anyone outside the jury room about the case, including family and friends.

This included communicating with people online.

Potential jurors were read a list of 95 witnesses who will give evidence in the case, and were told they could not serve if they knew any of them.

The list included several former senior banking figures as well as a number of gardaí.

The charges denied by David Drumm

Conspiracy to defraud, contrary to common law

That you David Drumm between March 1 and September 30, 2008, both dates inclusive, did conspire with Denis Casey, Willie McAteer, John Bowe and others to defraud by engaging in transactions between Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc, Irish Life & Permanent plc and Irish Life Assurance dishonestly to create the false and misleading impression that deposits from a non-banking entity to Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc during the year ending September 30, 2008 were approximately €7.2bn larger in amount than they really were - with the intention of inducing existing and prospective depositors with, existing and prospective investors in, and existing and prospective lenders to, Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc to make decisions concerning their deposits or investments in, or loans to, the bank on the assumption that the said bank received larger deposits from a non-bank entity during the year ended September 30, 2008 than it really did.

False accounting contrary to Section 10 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001

That you David Drumm did on December 3, 2008 dishonestly and with the intention of making a gain for yourself or another or causing loss to existing and prospective investors in and depositors with Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc furnish to the market information about the performance of Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc during the year ending September 2008 by making use of an account which to your knowledge was misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular insofar as it gave the impression that non-bank deposits into Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc were greater by an amount of €7.2bn approximately than they really were during that period.

Irish Independent

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