A solicitor who played a "very significant" role in the investigation of allegations against former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick has denied suggestions that political or public outrage ever influenced the case.
Mr FitzPatrick (68) of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, is accused of misleading auditors about multi-million euro loans between 2002 and 2007.
He has pleaded not guilty to 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.
Kevin O'Connell was a legal advisor with the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) in 2009.
He told Bernard Condon SC, defending, that he had a "very significant involvement" in the investigation.
He agreed there was significant public interest in the case and that this would have found its way into the political sphere.
Mr Condon told the court that in February 2009 Paul Appleby, the director of corporate enforcement, sent details of the investigation to the secretary generals of the Department of Finance and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
These emails were labelled "secret" and "strictly confidential" and Mr O'Connell said this was to ensure that the information was not treated lightly.
"There was very active political interest in this investigation. This could not have passed you by. This could not have been without impact," counsel submitted.
Mr O'Connell said a theoretical possibility of political influence did not chime with his experience.
"I at no time experienced anything that suggested there was political pressure being inappropriately exerted on any of us, no sense that my colleagues were under pressure or that any of us felt there was anything lacking in our own powers that would have made us succumb to such pressure" he said.
Counsel put it to Mr O'Connell that there was a duty in "a case like this, which excites public and media attention" to ensure that it was not influenced by outside forces.
Mr O'Connell said he understood there could be concern that an investigation conducted in "the teeth of gale force public outrage" could be diverted away from cold, calculated lines of investigation and into unfairness.
But he said he did not think this was a hazard which he saw occurring in this investigation.
Mr O'Connell said that he regularly read assertions in the press about why the investigation was taking so long.
He said it was a difficult and nuanced case and that "we had to keep going with a very methodical, painstaking investigation".
He said that Mr Appleby had delegated to him the director's statutory powers and that these gave him the power to make requests to banks for productions of documents.
He denied that he had essentially become the director.
"You obviously didn't metamorphose in some Star Trekian manner into a different person but you were effectively the director," counsel said.
Mr O'Connell replied that he remained sub-ordinate of Mr Appleby who could also exercise his powers.
The jury saw a copy of a letter written by Mr O'Connell to Natasha Mercer, Anglo's company secretary, in January 2009 which stated that "if you or any person fails to furnish reasonable assistance to me... or fails to produce documents... you and they may be guilty of offences".
Mr Condon described these as "baldly aggressive terms" but Mr O'Connell compared it to the legal warning in any passport application against furnishing false information.
Counsel said: "You choose to go in high, you were prepared to go in with your studs showing.
"Did you get carried away by the fact that you are now involved in the Anglo investigation and you were now investigating Sean FitzPatrick?"
Mr O'Connell rejected this suggestion. He agreed that he was making it clear that it would be wrong and a very serious matter to destroy documents.