Saturday 24 February 2018

Jury let go for a fortnight as judge considers legal issue in FitzPatrick trial

Former Anglo director Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former Anglo director Sean FitzPatrick. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Legal Affairs Editor

JURORS in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick have been told they will not be required again until Monday week.

Judge John Aylmer told the jury there was a legal issue which he had to deal with before the trial can proceed.

"That is not unusual," he said.

Mr FitzPatrick (68), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, is facing 27 separate charges of misleading Anglo's auditors Ernst & Young.

Before they retired all of the charges were read to them.

Judge Aylmer said when they return counsel for the prosecution Dominic McGinn would open the case.

"That lengthy and daunting indictment will be made clear to you," he said.

The judge said it was "an awful lot to digest" but it would be explained.

Judge Aylmer reminded the jury not to seek information about the case outside the courtroom.

"For God's sake don't be tempted to publish your own views on the matter on social media," he added.

The trial is expected to last 12 weeks.

Mr FitzPatrick has denied the charges.

These include 21 counts of making misleading, false or deceptive statements to the auditors of Anglo Irish Bank, contrary to section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.

The offences allegedly occurred on dates between 2002 and 2007 and carry a maximum five year jail term.

They include five counts alleging Mr FitzPatrick did not disclose to auditors Ernst & Young arrangements temporarily reducing the balance of loans to him or persons connected to him at the end of the financial year. The reductions cited ranged in size from €4.3m to €88.9m.

He also faces six charges of giving false information contrary to section 242 of the Companies Act 1990 on dates between 2002 and 2008.

The offences carry a maximum jail term of three years. All counts relate to Mr FitzPatrick allegedly producing financial statements giving a false figure for the aggregate value of loans to directors of Anglo.

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