For­mer An­glo ex­ec­u­tive seeks le­gal costs for orig­i­nal trial

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS - RUAIDHRÍ GIBLIN

For­mer An­glo Ir­ish Bank ex­ec­u­tive Tiar­nan O’Ma­honey is seek­ing le­gal costs in re­la­tion to his orig­i­nal trial for con­spir­ing to con­ceal bank ac­counts from the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers, on top of costs for his suc­cess­ful ap­peal against con­vic­tion and sub­se­quent ac­quit­tal.

Mr O’Ma­honey (58) of Glen Pines, En­niskerry, Co Wick­low, was orig­i­nally found guilty by a jury in 2015 of know­ingly fur­nish­ing false in­for­ma­tion and con­spir­ing to de­fraud the Rev­enue, as well as con­spir­ing to have ac­counts deleted from the bank’s in­ter­nal sys­tem.

The ac­counts were al­leged to have been con­nected to the bank’s for­mer chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive Seán Fitz­Patrick.

Mr O’Ma­honey suc­cess­fully ap­pealed his con­vic­tion in March 2016, with the Court of Ap­peal hold­ing that a sub­stan­tial num­ber of doc­u­ments were wrong­fully ad­mit­ted into ev­i­dence and that the false in­for­ma­tion charge was brought out­side of a 10-year time limit.

A re­trial was or­dered in re­spect of Mr O’Ma­honey, An­glo’s for­mer chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer, which re­sulted in his ac­quit­tal on all charges by di­rec­tion of the trial judge last year. Mr O’Ma­honey has no con­vic­tions aris­ing out of the so-called An­glo tri­als.

The Court of Ap­peal had awarded costs to Mr O’Ma­honey, who has not been on le­gal aid, for his suc­cess­ful ap­peal. How­ever, an is­sue has arisen over pre­cisely “what was said” in re­la­tion to costs for the orig­i­nal trial and re­trial.

Au­dio record­ing

The pres­i­dent of the Court of Ap­peal, Mr Jus­tice Ge­orge Birm­ing­ham, di­rected that the dig­i­tal au­dio record­ing of the or­der for a re­trial be made avail­able to both sides, on foot of an ap­pli­ca­tion by Mr O’Ma­honey’s lawyers.

Coun­sel for Mr O’Ma­honey, Bren­dan Gre­han SC, said his client was seek­ing costs for the orig­i­nal trial, and the mat­ter will come before Judge Martin Nolan on Mon­day. Judge Nolan was the judge for Mr O’Ma­honey’s re­trial.

Mr O’Ma­honey’s “om­nibus” ground of ap­peal con­cern­ing mul­ti­ple complaints re­lated to the trial in the sum­mer of 2015 did not pre­clude the or­der­ing of a re­trial, Mr Jus­tice Birm­ing­ham said.

At O’Ma­honey’s sub­se­quent re­trial, Judge Martin Nolan di­rected the jury to ac­quit him on all charges.

Judge Nolan said that, after con­sid­er­ing ar­gu­ments from both sides, he had reluc­tantly come to the con­clu­sion that the case was “too ten­u­ous” to go to the jury and a con­vic­tion would be “per­verse”.

“The ev­i­dence of con­spir­acy to do the acts with which Mr O’Ma­honey is charged is too ten­u­ous, too re­mote in both sub­stance and in time.”

He said he was not sat­is­fied that any prop­erly di­rected jury could con­vict in th­ese cir­cum­stances, as they would be asked to spec­u­late and to fill in gaps in the ev­i­dence ad­duced dur­ing the trial.

Judge Nolan said there was ev­ery rea­son to be sus­pi­cious of Mr O’Ma­honey’s ac­tiv­i­ties in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber 2003, and his sub­se­quent deal­ings with gar­daí. But, he said, in the ab­sence of for­mal ev­i­dence of con­spir­acy with Aoife Maguire, this was not enough.

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