Prosecuting barristers in Fitzpatrick trial paid €1m

The Director of Public Prosecutions paid the three barristers who prosecuted Seán FitzPatrick just over €1m in the longest running criminal trial in the history of the state.

DPP figures show that the lead prosecutor in the case, Dominic McGinn SC, received €517,215, including €96,715 in Vat for his work.

The three barristers in the prosecution team, Mr McGinn, John Byrne BL and Diana Stuart BL received total payments of €1.075m.

However, the legal bill to the taxpayer for barristers on the prosecution and defence teams during the 126-day is likely to be over €2m.

The trial ended after trial judge Judge John Aylmer directed the jury acquit Mr FitzPatrick on all charges.

The DPP’s figures, released in response to a Freedom of Information request, show Mr Byrne received €369,720, including €69,135 in Vat, and Ms Stuart received €189,007, including €35,343 in Vat. The DPP freedom of information unit said the case cost “does not include the cost of DPP staff assigned to the case or preliminary work”.

Mr McGinn received the higher fees due to the higher rates senior counsel command and by virtue of the case being the longest criminal in Irish history, as the fees he received are standard rates and available to all senior counsel employed by the DPP.

The fees earned by Mr McGinn in the trial helped him to be the second best paid prosecutor in the country last year when he received €429,034.

Mr McGinn is a veteran of trials associated with the failed Anglo-Irish Bank and led the State’s team in the Anglo Three case in 2016.

In the circuit court, senior counsel received a brief fee of €1,716 and a refresher fee of €858 while junior counsel receive a brief fee of €1,144 and a refresher fee of €572.

The estimated €2m cost does not include the costs of Mr FitzPatrick’s solicitor and also does not include the costs of the first trial of the case which lasted for seven weeks of legal argument in 2015 in the absence of the jury.

The Department of Justice does not reveal criminal aid payments to lawyers by trial.

Already, it has been revealed that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) paid more than €300,000 for expert testimony trial, much of which was not allowed to be put to the jury.

The ODCE had commissioned expert reports on audits and on forensic accounting from Mazars, London, as part of its preparation for the trial by Judge Aylmer said that the audit expert, Nigel Grummitt, could not give testimony on the grounds his proposed evidence was “irrelevant”.

The scale of the payout to barristers in the Seán FitzPatrick case follows reports yesterday that a specialist unit is to be created in the offices of the DPP to tackle white-collar crime under Government plans to crack down on financial and corporate fraud.


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