Jury selection in former bankers' trial adjourned

Friday 08 January 2016 22.17
The jury panel has been told the trial could last up to five months
The jury panel has been told the trial could last up to five months

Jury selection in the trial of four former bankers has been adjourned until Monday after Dublin Circuit Criminal Court ran out of potential jurors.

The four former bankers have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to defraud by misleading investors and depositors in Anglo Irish Bank about the true value of its deposit books.

Over 270 people, answering their jury summons, passed through Court seven today for the selection of an enlarged 15-member jury for the trial, which is expected to last five months.

One man was excused after describing himself as "an adamant protester", while others were allowed go due to personal and work commitments.

Judge Martin Nolan said the jury, once sworn, would likely not begin hearing evidence in the case until the week after next.

Anglo's former director of finance, Willie McAteer, 65, Greenrath, Tipperary town, Co Tipperary, is accused with three other Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent officials.

They are: John Bowe, 52, from Glasnevin in Dublin, who was head of capital markets at Anglo Irish Bank; Denis Casey, 56, from Raheny, Dublin, who was chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) until 2009 and Peter Fitzpatrick, 63, from Malahide, Dublin, who was IL&P's former director of finance.

They have all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors through financial transactions to make the bank appear €7.2bn more valuable that it was between 1 March and 30 September 2008 in Dublin.

Judge Nolan today informed the jury panel before the selection process that a person must not serve if disqualified or if they had any "strong views" on Anglo.

He repeated that the four accused were entitled to a fair and impartial trial and it was the duty of jury members to come to court with an open mind.

The judge said a person should also not serve as juror if they had been employed by any of the financial institutions in question, knew any of the witnesses, the prosecution or the defence teams or had any connection to named accountancy firms, including Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC).

Judge Nolan emphasised that anyone who has expressed "very strong views" in a public forum such as the internet, which could cause embarrassment, should not serve on the jury.

He then listed the names of witnesses to be called, including 14 members of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI), previous Anglo employees, as well as employees of Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland and RBC Capital Bank London.

It took several hours to empanel seven women and seven men on the jury.

Once these 14 jurors had been sworn in, the judge warned them not to investigate any matters concerning the case on the internet as that would be against the oath they had sworn.

He also told them they must not discuss the case with other parties, before asking them to return to Court 7 at 10am on Monday for the empanelling of the final juror.

The trial is due to hear from around 100 witnesses.

Keywords: anglo