Ex-Anglo official jailed for conspiring to conceal bank accounts

Bernard Daly
Bernard Daly

An ex-Anglo Irish Bank official jailed for conspiring to conceal bank accounts from the Revenue Commissioners must wait to hear whether he will be admitted to bail pending his appeal in January.

Bernard Daly (67), of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to furnishing false information and conspiring to defraud the Revenue Commissioners as well as conspiring to delete accounts from the bank's internal system.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to two years imprisonment by Judge Patrick McCartan on July 31 last.

Lawyers for Daly, who was the bank's former company secretary, told the Court of Appeal last month that his trial was unfair from beginning to end.

Although his bail application was unsuccessful, the court did not rule out hearing a renewed application for bail when the transcript of the trial became available.

His lawyers returned to the Court of Appeal this morning, claiming their position had been “fortified” by the transcript.

Seán Guerin SC, for Daly, said the prosecution case against Daly rested “almost entirely” on the bank's former head of compliance – a Mr Gillespie - who, the prosecution accepted, could have been seen as an accomplice.

Mr Guerin said the trial judge agreed to give an accomplice warning to the jury in respect of Mr Gillespie's evidence but the warning was “meaningless”.

The trial judge told the jury that they must act cautiously on the evidence of Mr Gillespie. However, a proper accomplice warning required the judge to mention the “dangers of convicting on the evidence of an accomplice in the absence of corroboration”.

The word 'danger' was simply not used, Mr Guerin said.

'Caution' lacked the force or urgency to bring home to the jury what the warning was actually for.

Furthermore, nothing was said about corroboration, Mr Guerin stated. The judge simply didn't tell the jury what corroboration was and what evidence was capable of amounting to corroboration.

These components of a corroboration warning were required by law, Mr Guerin said.

The trial judge did not address Daly's defence and that was what he should have done, counsel said.

Having complained about the warning, Mr Guerin said the prosecution advanced unstateable propositions of law and now had nothing to say about the contents of the warning.

Mr Guerin said the transcript was “embarrassing” to the prosecution because they had made submissions about the judge's warning which were “wholly unstateable”.

The prosecution were now using liberal sprinklings of extracts from the transcript to persuade the court to wait until the full appeal yet they hadn't made any submissions that a proper accomplice warning was given, Mr Guerin said.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dominic McGinn SC, said this was a matter which could only be determined at the full appeal hearing.

Analysing parts of the transcript was no substitute to analysing the case in the round, Mr McGinn said, particularly in relation to Mr Gillespie and the “artificiality of portraying” him as an accomplice.

When Mr Gillespie was approached firstly by Daly and then by O'Mahoney to omit information, he declined to do so, Mr McGinn said.

That was consistent behaviour by Mr Gillespie and Daly's lawyers were attempting to whitewash that now.

Mr McGinn said the case against Daly absolutely did not depend entirely on Mr Gillespie. The conspiracy could not have succeeded without Daly's cooperation and support, he said.

If there was some conspiracy afoot to stop the Revenue getting the information, Daly had to be involved, Mr McGinn said.

He said it was impossible to determine whether Daly had a strong chance of succeeding in his appeal without considering the entire transcript and all the circumstances of the case and he asked the court to refuse bail.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court would wished to take time on its decision and would deliver it next week.

Daly's co-accused, Tiarnan O'Mahoney (56), of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, was also due to apply for bail along with Daly pending his appeal but had adjourned his bid until the transcripts became available. He did not seek bail today.

Aoife Maguire (62), of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin, has not sought bail but was given a priority hearing date of December 23 next for her appeal against sentence.

Maguire, a former assistant manager in the bank, had denied conspiring to delete bank accounts connected to Mr Seán Fitzpatrick from the bank's internal system and conspiring to defraud the Revenue Commissioners on dates in 2003 and 2004.

O'Mahoney, the bank's former Chief Operations Officer, had denied knowingly furnishing false information to the Revenue, conspiring to have accounts deleted from the bank's internal system and conspiring to defraud the Revenue.