Monday 24 October 2016

No jurors affected by bank crisis allowed in FitzPatrick trial

FitzPatrick denies charges
FitzPatrick denies charges

A judge told potential jurors they must not take part in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick if they were affected by the banking crisis or were members of anti-austerity groups.

The trial of former Anglo boss FitzPatrick began at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, where he denied misleading the bank's auditors about millions of euro in loans.

A specially enlarged jury panel of 15 has been sworn in for the trial, which is expected to run for three months.

Mr FitzPatrick (68) is accused of failing to disclose to the bank's auditor Ernst & Young the details of loans of up to €119m which he received from Anglo between November 2002 and February 2008.

Mr FitzPatrick - of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow - 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.

In addition to the usual exclusions, potential jurors were told they must not serve if they were affected by the banking crisis or have expressed any views on it on social media or any other public forum.

They were told they should not serve if they are a member of any protest group, including anti-austerity groups. Banking sector employees and shareholders were also excluded.

One woman was excused from serving after telling the court she is "decidedly not neutral when it comes to bankers",

Another man said he was willing to cancel a holiday to serve but he was objected to by the defence.


The defence challenged eight potential jurors while the prosecution challenged four. Counsel are allowed to challenge up to eight jurors each without giving reason. Another 72 were excused for various reasons before a final jury of eight women and seven men was sworn in.

Judge Aylmer told jurors they must not seek out information on the trial outside of the court.

"We're all aware of the availability to everyone of the internet, newspapers or social media," he said.

He also asked the jurors not to discuss the case with family or friends. The case should finish by Christmas.

The jury will return on Monday before being sent away for two weeks while legal arguments take place.

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