Anglo trial prosecution case not good enough, jury told

Counsel for Brendan Daly says that his client is ‘honest and straightforward’

The case against Bernard Daly, one of three former Anglo Irish Bank officials on trial, amounts to an allegation that "he must have known", but that is not good enough, a jury has been told.

In his closing speech at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Sean Guerin SC, for Mr Daly, said no one could possibly know, from looking at a list of 3,000 accounts supplied to Revenue as part of an audit on November 17th, 2003, that anything was missing.

The list contained bank account numbers and not names, Mr Guerin said, and “you couldn’t possibly say”, even if Mr Daly did read it, that did not establish his knowledge.

Mr Guerin said his client’s “whole role” was to present information to Revenue that other people had gathered. And the suggestion he must have known what was on the list was the same as saying he must have known the procedure for opening a bank account just because other people at the bank knew it.


“Mr Daly was honest and straightforward in all of his dealings with the Revenue Commissioners,” Mr Guerin said.

Mr Daly (67) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, faces three charges, all related to accounts of John Peter O’Toole, the brother-in-law of former chairman and chief executive of the bank, Seán FitzPatrick.

This included that he supplied a list of non-resident accounts to Revenue as part of its audit and left out Mr O’Toole’s account, which should have been included. He is also accused of conspiring to destroy records related to Mr O’Toole’s accounts in the bank’s computer system. He is also accused of trying to defraud Revenue by destroying those bank accounts.

He has pleaded not guilty.

His co-accused, Aoife Maguire (63) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, and Tiarnan O'Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, have also been charged with trying to hide accounts connected to Mr FitzPatrick from Revenue between March 2003 and December 2004. They have pleaded not guilty.

Mr Guerin said the prosecution has alleged Mr Daly was centrally involved in the selection and management of the task team, drawn together in October 2003 to assist in the audit. Mr Guerin said the prosecution said Mr Daly accepted that during a Garda interview. But it was not true, he said, that Mr Daly had told gardaí he had only been involved in selecting one member of the team.

He asked the jury to think carefully about acting on anything the prosecution asked them to do if they were willing to mislead about that. The reason they were misleading was because they did not have the evidence, he claimed.

“What they are doing instead, and it’s a disgrace, they are misleading you ... they are saying there is evidence when there isn’t evidence,” he said.

Mr Guerin said the only evidence against his client was an alleged conversation "some time in 2003" with head of compliance Brian Gillespie in which he asked a "rhetorical question" about whether he would be willing to delete an account if asked by Mr FitzPatrick.

He said his client had no recollection of this, but if the jury accepted it occurred, it was “a chance meeting, without any arrangement, at the back door on the way in or out”. Mr Gillespie had suggested in evidence that it was a rhetorical question and he was not expected to answer it. It could not be compared to discussions with Mr FitzPatrick and Mr O’Mahoney about Mr O’Toole’s account.

The prosecution had said the outcome of this conversation was that Mr Gillespie was removed from the audit task team, Mr Guerin said, but that did not make sense. There were two good reasons why Mr Gillespie was not on the team; he had too much work of his own, and he was no longer trusted by Revenue, because of his dealings with them during an earlier audit.

Mr Guerin’s closing continues.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist