Court must assume jury abided by directions, Anglo appeal told

State counsel reject arguments of unfair trial for former Anglo Irish Bank executives

Former Anglo Irish Bank company secretary Bernard Daly (left) and former chief operations officer Tiernan O’Mahoney. They  were jailed in July for conspiracy to falsify bank records and defraud the Revenue Commissioners, and are appealing their convictions and the length of their sentences. Photographs: Collins Courts/The Irish Times

Former Anglo Irish Bank company secretary Bernard Daly (left) and former chief operations officer Tiernan O’Mahoney. They were jailed in July for conspiracy to falsify bank records and defraud the Revenue Commissioners, and are appealing their convictions and the length of their sentences. Photographs: Collins Courts/The Irish Times

 

The Court of Appeal must assume the jury abided by the directions of the trial judge in the case against three former Anglo Irish Bank officials, the court was told on Thursday.

Dominic McGinn SC, for the State, rejected arguments that the admittance of some evidence resulted in an unfair trial for former chief operations officer Tiernan O’Mahoney and former company secretary Bernard Daly.

The evidence of concern included an email sent by former assistant manager Aoife Maguire, a co-accused, which said she was working directly for O’Mahoney.

Mr McGinn said the judge “ultimately directed the jury not to have regard to it whatsoever”, when considering the charges against O’Mahoney.

He said evidence that should not have been given by an IT worker at the bank, James Shaw, should also not be regarded.

“One has to assume the jury would abide by the directions of the judge ... to do otherwise would undermine the whole system of the jury,” Mr McGinn said.

O’Mahoney and Daly were jailed in July for conspiracy to falsify bank records and defraud the Revenue Commissioners.

Daly (67), of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin was sentenced to two years in prison by Judge Patrick McCartan, at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

O’Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, was sentenced to three years in prison.

Appealing convictions

The men are appealing their convictions and the length of their sentences.

Mr McGinn also defended the admittance of a Garda interview with Daly in which he called O’Mahoney a bully. He said the judge gave a direction to the jury to ignore that, in relation to the case against O’Mahoney.

“So clearly it isn’t the case that it impacted negatively on Mr O’Mahoney,” Mr McGinn said.

Allegations that the case against Daly was weak were not correct, he said. The DPP did not think so, neither did the trial judge and “finally the jury assessed the case to amount to proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Invited by Mr Justice George Birmingham to detail the evidence against Daly, Mr McGinn highlighted a conversation Daly had with former head of compliance Brian Gillespie, in which Mr Gillespie said Daly asked if he would be prepared to delete an account if asked to by a more senior bank official.

Mr McGinn said this wrongdoing was central to the substantive charge against Daly, “but both before and after that there was a conspiracy to interfere with bank records”.

He said it was clear there was a conspiracy.

“Aoife Maguire was convicted and hasn’t appealed, so it’s established she was a conspirator,” Mr McGinn said.

Task team

Other evidence against Daly included his position as part of a task team which prepared information for Revenue in 2003.

Mr McGinn told the court Maguire worked directly for O’Mahoney, in a separate office from the team.

“Our contention was Mr Daly would have been aware of that and if he wasn’t part of the conspiracy, would have asked questions about that,” Mr McGinn said.

He also said it did not matter that Daly was only company secretary at the bank from September 2003; “conspirators can come and go”, he said.

The appeal continues before Mr Justice Birmingham, sitting with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards.