Tag Archives: Sean Fitzpatrick

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

TDs made statements on the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, received by Fine Gael’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

It followed the acquittal of former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick earlier this week, after lead investigator from the ODCE shredded documents which were relevant to the investigation.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said:

“The first thing I think we need to say, in relation to this debate, is that Ireland doesn’t do prosecution of white collar crime and it’s not just this collapse of this trial or the acquittal of Seanie Fitzpatrick, but it’s, for decades now, we’ve seen that thread.

“We’ve seen the underfunding of resources, of agencies that are supposed to be tackling white collar crime, we see staff resources being cut and we see our legislative framework, that should underpin a strong, robust anti-corruption and white collar crime agenda, simply not there.

“My colleague spoke about the request, when the ODCE was established in 2001, and it was established as a result of the tribunals of investigation, the massive corruption that we’ve seen in those tribunals, tribunals that span three decades, yet only one conviction because of corruption.

“Despite the fact that we know that politicians were up to their neck in it, in relation to brown envelopes. Despite the fact that we know that people had benefitted, in terms of their own lifestyle as a result of backhanders given to people in influential places but CAB didn’t go in and seize the assets at that time, because there’s one rule for certain individuals and another rule for others.

“But when it was established in 2001, within a number of years, the director was requesting resources. The director wrote to Micheál Martin, who was the line minister at that time in 2005, and continued to write to him over a period of time, telling him that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement was wholly inadequately resourced.

“Minister Martin at the time refused the request and at a time when tens of thousands of additional public sector workers were bing recruited, not an additional staff member was given to the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement.

“Bertie Ahern, sitting for years where you’re sitting today, and said that they needed to wait their turn. And, at the same time, at the same time, Seanie Fitzpatrick and his ilk were setting in train the economic disaster that people the length and breath of this country had to endure over the last ten years. And that is a symbol of how this country deals with white collar crime. Continue reading

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Earlier today.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked about former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán Fitzpatrick being acquitted of furnishing false information to Anglo’s auditors.

The acquittal followed solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) Kevin O’Connell admitting that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Mr FitzPatrick, among other matters.

During Leaders’ Questions, Mr Kenny said:

“The ODCE is a statutory independent body. Its mother Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, has no responsibility or power of enforcement. The ODCE takes its own legal advice. There were gardaí attached to the ODCE in the beginning but they were not involved in the way this case was taken. The judge did point out that the most fundamental error was the way in which they went about taking evidence from the auditors of Anglo Irish Bank, who were both from the firm of accountants involved.

He said that it was intended that their statements would be taken in the normal way by members of the Garda Síochána who were then attached to the ODCE. Instead, however, the statements were obtained through solicitors from a legal firm.

The ODCE pointed out that it has now undergone substantial organisational change and that it was simply not equipped to undertake parallel investigations on the scale involved. I want to say this: I have not spent the past six years as head of Government and making very difficult decisions only to hear again now the allegation in respect of white-collar crime that people can walk away, that nobody is guilty and that nothing is being done about it.

“Let us, as a Parliament, decide what we must do with an organisation like the ODCE. I can confirm that when the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton, had responsibility for jobs, requests by the ODCE to his then Department for resources were granted. Now I find that the ODCE says it was simply not equipped to take parallel investigations on the scale involved.

I can confirm that the Minister has asked the Director of Corporate Enforcement for a full report, including on the role of all professionals involved in this case. That report will cover the issues involved since 2008 when this case commenced – almost ten years ago. Nothing is ruled out.

“When Deputy Catherine Murphy had her full group, she put forward a proposition for a statutory standing body in the Dáil to deal with matters of corruption and so on.”

“The Minister will bring this before Government in due course. The Government will consider it next week, but I want the Minister to carry out an absolute review of what happened. It is not good enough.”

Sigh.

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Earlier: A Moment Of Panic

From top: Kevin O Connell from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement; RTÉ Prime Time‘s David McCullagh and Dearbhail McDonald last night

“We [Irish Independent] actually knew back in 2015 that this particular prosecution of Sean Fitzpatrick was in serious trouble and serious jeopardy but we couldn’t report it at that time.

Back in 2015, legal argument came in the absence of a jury about key aspects of the trial and one of those included the manner in which statements were taken from two key witnesses Vincent Bergin and Kieran Kelly who were audit partners in Ernst & Young which we now know as EY.

But I suppose what I recall as the most staggering event possibly in 2015 was the day we were in court and the day that it emerged that the lead investigator Kevin O’Connell who was a solicitor, who wasn’t experie-, he was a solicitor for the ODCE and in charge of this investigation but he wasn’t overly experienced in dealing with serious indictable offences, he didn’t have much experience in the taking of witness statements.

And he admitted, it emerged, he went home, after six days of cross examanation in the Circuit Court, that he had shredded documents in what he described as a moment of panic when he went back to his office. I think it was the May bank holiday weekend.

And that was absolutely staggering at that point in time. We couldn’t report it because Mr O’Connell, whom the ODCE today revealed had been hospitalised in the immediate aftermath of that revelation for a period of time.

The case ended there and it is only now that the case has concluded, by way of direction of acquittal by the trial judge that we are able to report those facts.”

Dearbhail McDonald, of the Irish Independent on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night.

Meanwhile…

Gardaí are trained in taking witness statements. O’Connell, who was centrally involved, had never taken a witness statement before. The whole process, [Brendan[ Condon [Sean Fitzpatrick’s barrister] said, was “lawyer-led”. It was “statement by committee”, with the statements being constructed as if for civil proceedings. But this was not the commercial court. It was a criminal prosecution and it should have been investigated in the normal way.

Unknown to Condon, when O’Connell was in the witness box answering questions about these matters, the ODCE solicitor had a particular worry on his mind.

What documents should and should not be disclosed to the defence by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was one of the matters Condon was complaining about in his critique of how his client was being treated. O’Connell was worried about the decision not to disclose a particular document to the defence. According to Condon’s later view, that document would have revealed that the DPP was being kept informed as to how O’Connell was going about his work. The decision not to disclose the document, an email, Condon was to say in court in 2016, caused O’Connell to fear that he was going to be “hung out to dry” by the DPP.

O’Connell feared that the DPP was “deliberately suppressing the email”, Condon said, and this caused O’Connell to “panic”.

The banker, the investigator and the shredding of documents (Colm Keena, Irish Times)

Earlier: You Are Free To Go



This morning.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick with daughter Sarah (top left) leaves court after being formally acquitted of furnishing false information to Anglo’s auditors.

Mr Fitzpatrick was cleared yesterday on all charges after a ruling on day 126 of the trial concerning shredder-based “shortcomings in the prosecution’s evidence”.

Good times.

Sean Fitzpatrick formally acquitted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court (Breakingnews)

Yesterday: Acquitted

Rollingnews

Former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank Seán Fitzpatrick

More as they get it.

Related: Prosecution finishes evidence in FitzPatrick trial (April 28, 2017, RTE)

UPDATE:

fitzpatrickjobstown

From top: Sean Fitzpatrick; Jobstown portest in Dublin city Centre last Summer

Developments in the trial of the ‘Jobstown 23’ – for the alleged ‘false imprisonment’ of then Tanaiste Joan Burton – have put the right to a ‘jury of your peers’ under threat.

Anonymous writes:

When the jury for Sean Fitzpatrick’s case was being selected, directions were given to jurors to exclude themselves if they had been strongly affected by the banking crisis, had been active in any campaigning groups, had been involved in anti-austerity protests, or had expressed themselves on social media about the banking crisis.

On that basis, juror 791 was excluded.

Now for the first adult false imprisonment #JobstownNotGuilty trial, the DPP is trying to stack the jury against the defendants. They have written to the seven defendants’ solicitors putting forward a proposed formula for excluding jurors, on an extraordinarily wide basis.

This includes excluding:

“People from the Jobstown/Tallaght area and people with such connections to the area as would give rise to a concern that they could not deal with the case impartially.”

“Persons who are active in any campaigning groups either for or against water charges (whether formal or informal).”

“Persons who have expressed themselves in public, whether on the Internet, in the print media (newspapers), broadast media (radio or television), on social media (including Facebook, Twitter, on-line comment pages of websites or newspapers or any other form of social media) or otherwise on publically available mediums, on issues concerning water charges and/or the events on the 15th November 2014….”

Ruling out people from Tallaght excludes a large working class community. Ruling out those active in campaigning groups for or against water charges would obviously exclude very few people on the pro-water charges side, but a large number of those against water charges.

It could even be stretched to exclude every member of a trade union, given that it is ICTU policy to oppose water charges.

Similarly, ruling out those who have expressed themselves on water charges publicly would disproportionately exclude those against water charges and younger people who are more likely to be active on social media.

What is being attempted is blatant – to exclude as many working class people and those against water charges.

On what grounds can it be suggested that people expressing views on water charges makes them incapable of being impartial in what is supposed to be a ‘false imprisonment’ trial?

Worryingly, the trial judge in court on Friday, March 31 described the DPP proposals as “very sensible”. A different judge, Judge Ryan, will make a decision on the proposal to exclude people from the jury on the first day of trial Monday April, 24.

The contrast with the Sean Fitzpatrick case should not be lost. Legally speaking, Sean Fitzpatrick and the Jobstown protesters are in the same position – they are defendants.

Yet in Fitzpatrick’s case, the jury was stacked in his favour. In the Jobstown case, the DPP is going all out to stack it against the defendants.

The difference? He’s a banker, they’re anti-austerity protesters.

Rollingnews

image

Sean Fitzpatrick

Agitprop specialists The Bogman’s Cannon today posted comments reportedly from the juror excluded from the trial of Anglo-Irish Bank’s Seanie Fitzpatrick, as reported last night by RTÉ News.

‘Juror 791’, who is a a member of People Before profit, writes:

RTÉ reported yestertoday on TV and radio, on the selection of a jury for trial of Sean Fitzpatick. The report referred to a woman selected for the jury panel, who said loudly in court that she “most decidedly was not neutral in the case of bankers”.

Had I known RTÉ would carry my comments, I’d have made more of them.

I might have said for instance, that the criteria used to out-rule potential jurors is preposterous, excluding as it does anyone who may have “..expressed themselves in public… whether on the internet, on social media, including FaceBook…concerning Anglo Irish Bank PLC, or the banking crisis or bankers in general..”. (These are the judge’s words, not mine!).

The judge also explained that a fine of up to 2000 Euros could apply if you failed to exclude yourself from the jury if any of the following applied:

if you had been strongly affected by the banking crisis,

if you had “been active in any campaigning groups, either formal or informal”,

if you had “..been involved in protests….anti austerity protests and such like..”.

So who is left? Who has not been affected by FEMPI, or USC or cutbacks in public services, and might feel that these were connected to the banking crisis and have strong feelings about bankers as a consequence?

Or suppose you ‘liked’ a post on Facebook put up by one of those hundreds of thousands who campaigned against Water Charges or other austerity measures, or supposing, heaven forbid, you were one of those protestors. Well sorry, you just couldn’t possible be a juror then, now could you?

Does this not seem to be a very serious flaw in our justice system? If having a sense of outrage at the wrongdoing of the banking elites, or a sense of social responsibility such that you protest about injustice, or simply disagree with government policy and protest about that, that if any of this applies to you, then you are unfit as a juror.

It put me in mind of a great song years ago by the punk band Stiff Little Fingers, called “Suspect Device”. The suspect device was… a brain – you got one, don’t apply for jury duty.

Objection!

Overruled!

Clear the court.

Etc.

The Bogman’s Cannon

90376265Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán FitzPatrick last year

Sean FitzPatrick trial over loans disclosure due to begin (Irish Times)

First ever person charged with assisting suicide here to go on trial today (Independent.ie)