Length of trial will depend on how the three plead

Tue, Oct 9, 2012, 01:00

ANALYSIS:IF THE number of boxes containing the book of evidence against three former Anglo Irish Bank executives presented to them in court yesterday are anything to go by, the prosecution’s cases against the men will take some time to reach a conclusion.

When gardaí started piling the boxes, each containing nine volumes of papers, next to Seán FitzPatrick, Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan as they sat in court, Judge Cormac Dunne intervened, saying that it wasn’t necessary; they could be given to their solicitors, he said.

If he had not intervened, there was a chance the accused could have been penned in to the dock for the defendants on the left-hand side of Court One of the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin; each book, identical for each individual, filled three boxes.

The men, who face charges of giving unlawful financial assistance to 16 individuals – the “Maple 10” investors and six members of Seán Quinn’s family – have been sent forward for trial at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where the cases will be listed for mention in four to six weeks.

It is common for cases to be mentioned several times to discuss disclosure of documents and information before an arraignment date is set when the three will be asked how they plead. If they plead guilty, the cases could be over within weeks. If they plead not guilty, a trial date will be set on the day of the arraignment hearing.

Given that the Circuit Criminal Court has a waiting list of about a year, it will be autumn 2013 at the earliest before the cases against the accused go to a trial by jury.

“The reality with a case like this and the length of time it will take, if they plead not guilty, you shouldn’t be seeing a trial date before next October,” said criminal barrister Seán Gillane. By that stage, the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Anglo will be just months away.