Sean FitzPatrick trial will run into May, judge tells jury

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court case of ex-Anglo Irish Bank chairman now on 106th day

Sean Fitzpatrick: the former Anglo Irish Bank chairman has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Sean Fitzpatrick: the former Anglo Irish Bank chairman has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The judge in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick has told the jury the case will run into May.

The trial began in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last September and was scheduled to end by Christmas. It was delayed by weeks of legal argument in the absence of the jury and only began hearing evidence in December.

Four weeks ago the trial entered its 90th day, making it longer than any other criminal trial. Since then there has been more legal argument and on Wednesday the jury returned to hear one brief witness. It was day 106 of the trial.

It is the prosecution’s case that multimillion euro loans taken out by Mr FitzPatrick (68) and his family were “artificially reduced” for a period of two weeks around the bank’s financial end-of-year statement by short-term loans from other sources, including Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Denied charges

The prosecution alleges Mr FitzPatrick failed to disclose the extent of these loans to the bank’s auditors in the years 2002 to 2007. Mr FitzPatrick has denied all charges.

Due to personal holiday commitments, the jury are unavailable to hear evidence from next Monday until April 24th.

Judge John Aylmer told the jury that when the trial resumes there will be another two days of evidence and the trial process thereafter is likely to take another three weeks.

The jury minder informed the judge that one juror had holidays booked for a week in May and another juror was unavailable from June 9th until July 7th.

Judge Aylmer told the jurors they should not make any alterations to their plans. He thanked them for their patience and said it must be a frustrating process for them. “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Mr FitzPatrick of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the 1990 Companies Act. These include 22 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and five charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002 to 2007.