Monday 18 December 2017

Long day's journey into night for former high-flying banker

Shane Phelan

FOR a man used to the privileges associated with being a high-flying banker, Sean FitzPatrick's detention will have been a deeply humbling experience.

The disgraced former Anglo Irish Bank chairman and chief executive was given no special treatment in the 31-and-a-half hours between his arrest and eventual release.

Woken from his slumber at 6.15am on Thursday morning, he was confronted at the door of his home in Greystones, Co Wicklow, by an officer from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation brandishing a search warrant.

Mr FitzPatrick was told he was being arrested for questioning in relation to false accounting and advised of his rights.

He was given a few minutes to get fully dressed before being placed in handcuffs and put in the back seat of an unmarked Ford Mondeo.

He was then driven to Bray Garda Station. Once there the handcuffs were removed and he was processed in the custody suite.

A garda took his personal details, including his name, date of birth, and address.

His personal possessions, such as his wallet, keys and mobile phone were then taken off him, placed in an envelope and stowed safely.


He also had to take the laces from his shoes and take off his belt. He was then photographed and fingerprinted.

Mr FitzPatrick gave the gardai details of his solicitor, Michael Staines, and an officer was dispatched to contact the lawyer.

He was then shown into a small cell, 12ft long and 10ft wide, while waiting for the solicitor to arrive.

The cell contained a bed and a toilet in the corner. It had no food preparation facilities, television or radio.

After consulting with his solicitor, Mr FitzPatrick was then brought to an interview room where questioning began.

Teams of two from the garda fraud squad took it in turns conduct the interviews.

After an initial six-hour period of detention expired, it was extended by a further six by a garda superintendent.

As is normal practice, lunch and dinner were brought to the station for him from outside caterers on foil-wrapped trays.

At around 6.30pm on Thursday, a chief superintendent signed an order extending the detention period by a further 12 hours.

Officers continued questioning Mr FitzPatrick until half past midnight.

He was then returned to his cell for the night. Regular checks were made on the cell while he slept.

The questioning resumed at 8.30am yesterday morning and ended around 1pm.

Mr FitzPatrick was given back his personal possessions and told he was free to go.

Irish Independent

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