David Drumm trial judge warns jury over social media research

Jury must decide case on basis of evidence heard in court and nowhere else, judge says

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm arriving earlier this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where he is charged with conspiracy to defraud. File photograph: Collins Courts

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm arriving earlier this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where he is charged with conspiracy to defraud. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

The judge at the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm has given the jury a lengthy warning as proceedings break for the Easter courts holiday.

Judge Karen O’Connor, who is presiding over the conspiracy-to-defraud trial, told the 10 men and four women not to carry out any research online or via social media.

“Do not let anyone try to influence you, as it won’t help you when you get to the deliberations stage,” she said on day 49 of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial.

The judge said a jury is a group of people selected at random who must come to their own conclusion on the basis of the evidence they hear in court, and nowhere else.

 

On Thursday a former dealer at Irish Life & Permanent (ILP) told Sinéad McGrath, prosecuting, that he placed £978 million with Anglo, a transaction he said was “very very unusual”.

Séamus Magner, who managed ILP’s dealing desk, told the jury he was not aware of the planned transactions with Anglo until he was called to a meeting on the morning of September 26th, 2008.

“My colleague was sick that day so there was no handover regarding the transactions. I was called to an impromptu meeting which other ILP staff attended,” he said.

Counterparty limit

Mr Magner said the mechanics of the transactions were discussed by those present, and said he was aware the deal would exceed Anglo’s counterparty limit, which at the time was €100 million.

The defendant accepts multimillion-euro transactions took place between Anglo and ILP in 2008, but disputes that they were fraudulent or dishonest.

The witness told Ms McGrath it was agreed the cash amounts would flow between Irish Life Assurance, Permanent TSB, the retail banking wing of ILP and Anglo.

 

Mr Magner said the transactions were discussed with Anglo officials on “a quiet line”, which he said meant a telephone line on which they would not be disturbed.

David Drumm (51), of Skerries, Co Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with former bank officials Denis Casey, William McAteer, John Bowe and others to defraud depositors and investors at Anglo by “dishonestly” creating the impression that deposits were €7.2 billion larger than they were in 2008.

The former Anglo chief executive has also pleaded not guilty to false accounting on December 3rd, 2008, by furnishing information to the market that Anglo’s 2008 deposits were €7.2 billion larger than they were.

The trial, which began nine weeks ago, will resume on April 9th.