Judge tells Fitzpatrick trial jury to go home
THE jury in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick has been discharged following weeks of delays.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring released the jurors from service, telling them that the trial, which had been expected to last two months, was still not ready to start after seven weeks.
A jury had been sworn in at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on April 14 and members were told the trial would run up until May 29.
However, it had been in legal argument from April 16, and delays including witness illness meant the jurors had heard no evidence. A new jury will have to be empanelled to hear the trial, and the proceedings were adjourned to October 5.
Mr Fitzpatrick (66), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, has 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.
Yesterday, Judge Ring told the jury the legal matters had been dealt with, but the trial was "clearly not going to last, as estimated, eight weeks".
"It is going to take a longer period," she said. "We have difficulties continuing, and I am left in a position where I am going to have to discharge you from jury service.
"We are going to have to engage another jury."
She discharged the members from further jury duty for seven years "in light of the fact that you have been so badly treated by the system".
"We are labouring under procedures that are clearly out of date," she said.
Mr Fitzpatrick sat and watched with arms folded as the remaining six women and five men of the jury left the courtroom. The foreman was excused two weeks ago.