A High Court judge has expressed concern over the failure to thoroughly investigate and bring prosecutions relating to possible criminal wrongdoing in the commercial and corporate sector.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said this did nothing to instil confidence in the way the criminal justice system applies to that sector.

Mr Justice Kelly made his comments while again strongly criticising the pace of the investigation into Anglo Irish Bank by the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The judge refused to grant a six-month adjournment sought by the Director to extend time for the investigation.

Instead, he gave an adjournment until the end of July.

He said in excess of two years' investigation without any appreciable result was not at all satisfactory.

Mr Justice Kelly said the Anglo investigation was not unique with regard to its lack of speed.

He said over the last few years he had sent papers for consideration by the relevant investigation and prosecution authorities in a number of Commercial court cases where judgments had been given for millions of euro against people, where there was evidence, on the face of it, of criminal wrongdoing on their part.

In some cases, he said admissions of wrongdoing had been made.

He said an apparent failure to investigate thoroughly yet efficiently and quickly possible wrongdoing in the commercial/corporate sector did nothing to instil confidence in the criminal justice system as applicable to that sector.

The judge said he was not alone in his sense of disquiet about the lack of further action on wrongdoing in the commercial and corporate sector.

He highlighted comments made by another senior Commercial Court judge, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, in a judgment in April on a case relating to disgraced former solicitor Thomas Byrne.

Mr Justice Clarke said that Mr Byrne made full admissions in the witness box about the practices he was engaged in and admitted that they were unlawful under many headings.

Mr Justice Clarke said it was very surprising indeed that no further action against Mr Byrne seemed as yet to have been taken.