Seán FitzPatrick's trial put back until 2015

Wednesday 21 May 2014 16.52
Seán FitzPatrick faces 12 counts of failing to disclose the true value of loans
Seán FitzPatrick faces 12 counts of failing to disclose the true value of loans

The trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick on charges of failing to tell the bank's auditors about loans he received has been put back to February next year.

Lawyers for Mr FitzPatrick applied to delay the start of the trial, which was due to start on 7 October.

Senior Counsel Michael O'Higgins said the defence needed more time to examine the significant amount of evidence disclosed to it.

He told the court that legal teams for both sides had been fully engaged in the previous trial, which ended in April.

Mr O'Higgins also said this trial had attracted an enormous amount of publicity and that there should be a fade factor in place to allow the next trial to take place in a more tranquil context. 

He said Mr FitzPatrick's subsequent acquittal had resulted in some agitation on social media.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring asked why the need for an adjournment was not raised earlier by either side given that some of these issues would have been "blindingly obvious".

Prosecuting counsel Úna Ní Raifeartaigh told the court there was a team of people working flat out on the pre-trial planning and scheduling.  

Judge Ring relisted the trial for 2 February 2015.

She said the court would not entertain any more applications to adjourn it.

She said a number of people who are in custody for other offences had been refused an early trial date because the dates had been blocked by this trial.

Mr FitzPatrick, 65, of Camaderry, Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, is charged under Section 197 of the Companies Act 1990.

He faces 12 counts of failing to disclose to auditors Ernst & Young the true value of loans worth at least €139 million given to him or people connected to him, by Irish Nationwide Building Society from 2002 to 2007 while he was an officer of the bank.

Mr FitzPatrick was present in court for the short hearing.

Judge Ring set a new pre-trial hearing date for 1 December.