Sunday 19 January 2020

Two jurors step down from Sean FitzPatrick trial

Sean FitzPatrick’s court case is due to end by Christmas. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Sean FitzPatrick’s court case is due to end by Christmas. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Two jurors have been excused from the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick, who faces charges of deceiving auditors about loans.

Judge John Aylmer discharged the two jurors after they encountered "insurmountable difficulties" and were unable to continue.

They were part of a specially enlarged 15-member jury sworn last month for the trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The jury had been scheduled to begin hearing evidence today.

However, Judge Aylmer said a legal matter was still being dealt with. The remaining 13 jurors are now expected to begin hearing evidence on October 26.

Judge Aylmer agreed to excuse a male juror who wished to step down due to bereavement.

The judge also agreed to excuse a female juror who said she was unable to support herself on social welfare for the course of the trial and now had a job.

The woman said she had been told she was entitled only to a social welfare payment of €67 a week. "I can't live on that. I started a new full-time job last week," she said.

Judge Aylmer told the remaining jurors the court was "very grateful" they had agreed to be empanelled for the trial.

"If any of you have a difficulty in the back of your mind about continuing, now is the time to raise it," he said.

Judge Aylmer said the trial was scheduled to conclude by Christmas and he had not been told anything to suggest that would change.

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

He has denied the charges, which relate to dates between 2002 and 2007.

The charges against Mr FitzPatrick include 21 counts of making misleading, false or deceptive statements to the auditors of Anglo Irish Bank.

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.

Irish Independent

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