DPP defends length of Anglo investigation
THE Director of Public Prosecutions has said "it is not a judicial function" to decide if prosecutions should be brought in the garda investigation into the affairs of Anglo Irish Bank.
James Hamilton yesterday defended the role of his office against recent remarks by High Court Judge Peter Kelly.
"The choice of what charges to prosecute is a function of the prosecutor alone. It is not a judicial function," he told a conference e in Dublin.
"In selecting offences, care must be taken not to overwhelm a jury by a trial which is longer and more complicated than necessary.
"This is a further reason not to take decisions to prosecute before all the important and relevant evidence is known," he added.
Mr Hamilton was referring to recent remarks by Judge Kelly, who criticised the progress of the Anglo Irish Bank investigation.
"An apparent failure to investigate thoroughly yet efficiently and expeditiously possible criminal wrongdoing in the commercial/corporate sectors does nothing to instill confidence in the criminal justice system," he said earlier this month.
His comments were made after he refused an application for a six-month extension into the Anglo investigation. He said that while "resources are fairly stretched, I have to date been able to allocate sufficient resources to deal with this case".
The 27-month-long Anglo Irish investigation became bogged down in detail as gardai and the Corporate Enforcement office decided to trawl through almost all suspect dealings in the bank, according to garda sources.
Only two arrests have been made so far and as many as 50 more arrests are expected, it emerged earlier this month.
Mr Hamilton said yesterday at a conference at Dublin Castle that it was not possible to say when the investigation would be completed.
"It was agreed between me, the garda authorities and the Director of Corporate Enforcement that files might be sent to my office in advance of completion of the investigation so that our consideration of the case could begin even as the investigation continued.
"My office over the last few months has received a number of voluminous and carefully prepared files from both the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. We have been working our way through them.
"It is not possible, nor was it ever envisaged, that my office would take a final decision on whether to bring any prosecutions in this case until all the important evidence is gathered."