Monday 19 February 2018

Byrne trial should inspire confidence in legal system

THE prosecution and conviction of former solicitor Thomas Byrne has, in the words of trial judge Patrick McCartan, given "great confidence" that juries can deal with complex trials. The endorsement of the jury system comes at a time when jury summonses will be sent to 1,500 citizens ahead of the prosecution of three former Anglo Irish Bank executives.

The Byrne conviction has also restored badly needed faith in the ability of the State, through the aegis of the Garda Fraud Bureau, to amass evidence that meets the higher criminal burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Such confidence in the investigation and prosecution of corporate crime, combined with faith in the integrity and community intelligence of the jury system, are qualities that are desperately required as the courts and ordinary citizens selected to serve as jurors are tasked to deal with the fallout of the financial crisis.

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