Sean Fitzpatrick granted legal aid for upcoming trial

Court told former Anglo Irish Bank chairman has ‘just emerged from bankruptcy’

Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean FitzPatrick who has been granted legal aid for his upcoming trial on charges of failing to disclose loans from another bank. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean FitzPatrick who has been granted legal aid for his upcoming trial on charges of failing to disclose loans from another bank. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick has been granted legal aid for his upcoming trial on charges of failing to disclose loans from another bank.

Mr FitzPatrick (65) of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow is charged under Section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.

He faces 12 counts of failing to disclose to auditors Ernst & Young the true value of loans worth at least €139 million given to him or people connected to him, by Irish Nationwide Building Society from 2002 to 2007 while he was an officer of the bank.

Mr FitzPatrick’s solicitor, Michael Staines, told Judge Mary Ellen Ring his client, who was not present in court, had “just emerged from bankruptcy” and is entitled to legal aid.

In an earlier hearing in July at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Mr Staines had submitted Mr FitzPatrick would not be able to fund his upcoming case unless he is awarded his costs from a previous trial in which he was acquitted on all charges.

Last June, Judge Martin Nolan rejected an application for costs for that trial and Mr Staines told Judge Ring that leave had been granted for a judicial review of this decision.

In July Mr Staines said the judicial review could take up to a year and his client could not afford to take on barristers in the meantime.

“Mr FitzPatrick will not be able to fund his case unless he gets an order for costs in the other matter. My client may have to reluctantly apply for legal aid,” he said.

Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC, prosecuting, had previously asked that the case be listed for mention to seek guidance from the defence regarding issues around disclosure from a third party.

Mr Staines had responded that the reason the defence have not responded to the State’s requests for guidance is that they have no counsel because of the issues around costs and legal aid.

The judge granted legal aid and three counsel to Mr Staines.

The trial is set for February 2nd next year with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for December 12th, 2014.