Wednesday 21 February 2018

Jury selection begins in Drumm trial as judge warns prospective jurors not to research the case online

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm pictured as he arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm pictured as he arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The selection of a jury has begun in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm for allegedly conspiring to defraud depositors and investors.

An extended jury panel of 15 is being selected at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Prospective jurors have been told by Judge Karen O’Connor they will need to be available for up to five months.

Mr Drumm (51), with an address in Skerries, Co Dublin, denies two charges, conspiracy to defraud and false accounting, relating to so-called €7.2bn “back to back” transactions involving Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) in 2008.

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm pictured as he arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm pictured as he arrives at the Criminal Courts of Justice. Picture: Gerry Mooney

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

Wearing a navy suit and open-necked blue shirt, Mr Drumm stood and responded “not guilty” when the two charges were put to him this morning.

Judge O’Connor told prospective jurors their role was crucial to the system of justice.

She said for the purpose of this trial certain categories of people were disqualified from being on the jury.

These include 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 are people with strong views generally about Anglo and who feel 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.

Also excluded are people who have worked for the Financial Regulator, the Central Bank, the Department of Finance or any Government body with an involvement in dealing with the financial crisis.

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

Judge O’Connor warned prospective jurors they should not research any aspect of the case online.

She said material gleamed 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 that 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 lists includes several former senior banking figures, including former AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy, former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson and former Anglo chief financial officer Matt Moran.

Large legal teams are involved on both the prosecution and defence sides of the case.

The prosecution team is made up of barristers Paul O’Higgins SC, Mary Rose Gearty SC, Sinead McGrath BL and Diana Stuart BL, instructed by solicitor Deirdre Manninger.

The defence side comprises barristers Brendan Grehan SC, Bernard Condon SC, Lorcan Staines BL and Tessa White BL, instructed by solicitors Michael and Rory Staines.

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