Gardaí never investigated shredding of Seán Fitzpatrick documents

Trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman hears investigator destroyed documents

Gardaí­ have never investigated a State official’s destruction of documents related to the investigation of alleged crimes by former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán Fitzpatrick, a trial has heard.

Mr FitzPatrick (68) is on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of misleading auditors about multimillion euro loans in the years 2002 to 2007.

The jury has already heard that in May 2015, Kevin O’Connell, a lead investigator from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), shredded documents which were relevant to the investigation. He has told Bernard Condon, defending, that he panicked when he discovered the five pages in his office and made a wrong decision to destroy them. He said he disclosed his actions to the director of corporate enforcement, Ian Drennan, three days later.

When Mr Condon began a sixth day of cross-examining Mr O’Connell on Thursday, the witness agreed it was a criminal offence to destroy documents relevant to an investigation.


He said when he told Mr Drennan about his actions he did so knowing it could have led to very serious outcomes such as criminal investigations or disciplinary proceedings. He agreed with counsel that none of these things happened.

‘Effective immunity’

Mr Condon said there had been no Garda investigation and hence there had been no prosecution.

He said at the start of the current trial last October, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) offered Mr O’Connell what counsel described as “effective immunity” from prosecution. This offer came while Mr O’Connell was giving evidence during legal argument and he indicated to the court he may wish to rely on the privilege against self-incrimination.

Mr Condon told the jury this was a legal right available here, under which a person does not have to answer a question that may incriminate them.

On October 12th last, the Chief Prosecution Solicitor for the DPP wrote to solicitors for Mr O’Connell stating no evidence given by him concerning the destruction of documents would be used in evidence in any criminal proceedings against him.

The court heard lawyers for the DPP have rejected that the letter amounted to an immunity against prosecution.

Mr FitzPatrick of Whitshed Road, Greystones, has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act. The trial continues.