Trial of ex-Anglo chairman delayed further

Jurors in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick have been told that legal arguments are still ongoing and that they must return in June when “all will be done and dusted.”

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday Judge Mary Ellen Ring allowed the jury foreman to be excused from the jury after he told the court he was experiencing difficulties due to his work.

Another juror, who is unemployed and looking for work, told the court the delays in the trial were interfering with his ability to get a new job.

The jury has been empanelled for over six weeks with the trial ongoing in legal argument in its absence. The start of evidence has been adjourned four times while the legal argument went on.

Yesterday Judge Ring told another juror, who has holidays booked from June 4, not to be concerned and that he could still pack his bags and prepare for his trip.

She asked the remaining 11 jurors to reassemble in the court on June 2.

“I’m going to ask the remaining jurors to come back on June 2. At that stage all will be done and dusted subject to whatever is occurring in this case,” she said.

She also told the jury: “We are still in legal argument. I do see light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it is the end and not an oncoming train.”

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The unemployed juror told the judge that his place on the jury is causing him problems when speaking to prospective employers. He said that he had no income at present and was paying for the bus in to and out of court.

Judge Ring asked this man to give a commitment to come back on June 2 but told him the court would not stand in his way if he had to start a new job.

“In the interim if you get an offer of a job contact the office immediately. I’m not going to stand in the way of that,” Judge Ring said.

Jurors were told two weeks ago that an illness is causing difficulty in the trial which has been repeatedly delayed since the jury were empanelled on April 14.

Mr FitzPatrick, 66, of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow pleaded not guilty to 27 offences under the Companies Act, 1990. These include 21 charges of making a misleading, false or deceptive statement to auditors and six charges of furnishing false information.

The charges are in connection with the disclosure of loans allegedly given to him or people connected to him by Irish Nationwide Building Society from 2002 to 2007 while he was an officer of Anglo Irish Bank.

The jury of six men and six women had been told the trial would run for six weeks up until May 29 but immediate legal issues had to be dealt with before the evidence could be opened to the jury. Legal argument began on April 16 and the jury were repeatedly told by telephone that the opening of the trial before them would be delayed.

Judge Ring previously told the jury that the witness illness was causing “serious timetable problems” and apologised to the jurors.

During the empanelment last month around 31 people were excused from jury service after giving reasons to the judge in private. The jury includes a housewife, a child care worker, a self-employed property manager, a self-employed computer programmer, an out-of-work IT worker, an engineer and a carpenter.

Mr FitzPatrick is accused of failing to disclose to Anglo’s auditors, Ernst and Young, the true amount of loans to him or people connected with him.

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