Jury in trial of three former Anglo staff accused of conspiring to conceal bank records begins deliberations
The jury in the trial of three former Anglo Irish Bank staff accused of conspiring to conceal or alter bank records has begun its deliberations after being reminded by a judge that the bank itself is not on trial.
Before sending the jurors away to begin deliberations just before 12am Judge Patrick McCartan recapped the facts of the case and told jurors they must leave “any hard views” about the bank behind them.
Former company secretary, Bernard Daly (65) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, former Chief Operations Officer Tiarnan O'Mahoney (54) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and Aoife Maguire (60) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin have pleaded not guilty to seven alleged offences committed in 2003 and 2004.
It is alleged that they conspired to hide or omit accounts, connected to Mr FitzPatrick from Anglo's Core Banking System (CBS) or from documentation provided to Revenue, who were conducting an investigation into bogus non-resident accounts which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).
The trial has lasted eight weeks and involved witnesses from Revenue, The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the now defunct bank. None of the accused called any evidence in their defence.
Judge McCartan told the jury that it cannot make take inference from this. He said it's the right of the defence not to call evidence and it is not a sign of them “surrendering.”
The judge said the alleged offence of conspiracy occurred when the accused entered into an agreement to break the law. He said it does not matter if the bank accounts turned out later not to be liable for DIRT.
“The offence is the agreement to do it,” he said. “Whether it can be done is a secondary issue.”
He said evidence against the three was mostly circumstantial and there was little evidence of direct action. He said the circumstantial evidence is often the best evidence and compared it to the threads of a rope.
“One on its own it will give you no strength but if you begin to link them together you will have a strong rope,” he said.
Judge McCartan also told the jurors that if they have doubts about any of the prosecution witnesses they must treat their evidence in caution.
He said if a witness is complicit in the alleged offending there is a human tendency to push the blame away from themselves.