The trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick for allegedly misleading auditors about multi-million euro loans is significantly over-running, a judge has said.
Mr FitzPatrick, aged 68, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow has pleaded not guilty to 21 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and six charges of furnishing false information in the years 2002 to 2007.
Yesterday morning Judge John Aylmer told the jury, which has so far only heard a summary of the allegation, the trial would now likely run to the end of February.
He said this was the worst- case scenario timeline. He told the jurors that the case is “over-running to a significant extent” because of continuing legal argument.
The trial began last September when a specially enlarged jury of 15 was empanelled over two days. The jury was told the trial would finish by Christmas.
Since then there have been weeks of legal argument in the absence of the jury and two jurors have been excused from service because of health and professional reasons.
Judge Aylmer asked the jurors yesterday to discuss among themselves whether they were in a position to continue serving on the jury.
After a brief period, it returned to court and the forewoman told the court everyone was happy to continue serving.
She said there may be problems if it goes into March as one juror has holidays booked for then. Judge Aylmer thanked the jurors for their patience, telling them; “we assure you we are all grateful for it”.
The judge told the jurors the current legal issue would be dealt with by next Wednesday and they could begin hearing the State’s evidence then. He said there is an estimated six weeks of evidence in the case.
Another two weeks are needed for another legal issue to be discussed in the jury’s absence, which will bring the case to early February.
“We are trying to give you the worst case scenario. We’ve gone twice the time on the second [legal] issues. Nobody can be blamed.
“These things take their course and they can’t be rushed,” Judge Aylmer said.
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