The collapse of yet another trial involving a former Anglo Irish Bank executive further damages public confidence in the State’s ability and resolve to prosecute white collar crime, the Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD has said.
Deputy Murphy said:
“It’s not even six months since the trial of Anglo’s former Chief Executive Seán Fitzpatrick collapsed due to a biased and flawed investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Today we hear a trial judge say that the case against Mr Tiarnan O’Mahoney was too tenuous to go to the jury and a conviction would be perverse. This trial in itself was a retrial after the Court of Appeal quashed Mr O’Mahoney’s 2015 conviction in April 2016.
“Day in and day out in this State people are sent to jail for relatively minor offences. Yet when it comes to the banking system and white-collar crime the authorities seem to be incapable of running fair and just prosecutions. It’s almost worse when a trial begins and collapses – not only for the accused, but also for overall public confidence in our justice system.
“Almost ten years on from the banking collapse, you’d still have to ask where is the will to tackle the serious questions about our criminal justice system when it comes to prosecuting white collar crime.
“The government’s spin machine has been busy recently flagging the imminent announcement of a series of measures to tackle white collar crime and corruption. According to media reports, these appear to amount to three separate Bills, including the Criminal Justice (Corruption Bill) 2017, which was first published five years ago, so can hardly be viewed as new.
“More laws are not enough without the drive and resources to vigorously and proactively police them. The Social Democrats have proposed an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency to do just that. We costed it at €5million to set up in our Alternative Budget 2018 – the same cost as the government’s new spin unit. Without a dedicated law enforcement agency, we will continue to see fine laws on our statute books which meet international standards but which lead to few actual consequences for corrupt behaviour.”
1 November 2017
The Social Democrats Independent Anti-Corruption Agency