Saturday 18 November 2017

Profile: Investigator admitted lack of experience

Mr O’Connell joined the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) in 2002. Photo: Collins Courts
Mr O’Connell joined the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) in 2002. Photo: Collins Courts
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The man chosen to play the lead role in the Sean FitzPatrick loans probe admitted in court he had no experience of investigations of such importance or complexity.

Solicitor Kevin O'Connell said his lack of experience contributed to a number of key mistakes being made in the conduct of the inquiry, including the coaching of key witnesses on the content of their statements.

But he also spread blame for these mistakes, insisting his superiors, gardaí and the DPP all knew what he was doing but did not correct him.

Mr O'Connell joined the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) in 2002, five years after qualifying as a solicitor. He previously worked for a criminal defence firm between 1997 and 1999.

After that he briefly worked at the Chief State Solicitor's Office and spent six months with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

At the ODCE he initially acted as a legal adviser, involved in criminal, civil, insolvency-related and advocacy work.

Despite his lack of experience, he took on much of the responsibility for the FitzPatrick loans probe, saying gardaí were busy with other inquiries related to Anglo.

Irish Independent

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