A POTENTIAL JUROR suffered a panic attack today during jury selection in the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank executive officials in a financial fraud case.
The empanelling in the trial of Tipperary native William McAteer and three co-accused was completed today after Dublin Circuit Criminal Court ran out of potential jurors last Friday.
Eight men and seven women make up the enlarged 15 member jury.
Judge Martin Nolan told the jury panel that this was a “financial fraud” trial which is set to take 20 weeks and that the evidence in it will be somewhat complicated.
Today a number of people were excused from serving on the jury after they cited reasons that included working in the financial services and having booked holidays.
One man told Judge Nolan he had “very strong views” on the issue. Judge Nolan had already warned that persons must not serve if they had any “strong views” on Anglo Irish Bank.
One woman from the jury panel had to step out after she had a panic attack.
Judge Nolan said the jury, once sworn, would likely not begin hearing evidence in the case until the week after next. He told the jurors to return to court next Monday but said they would be contacted by courts services if this changed.
Former Anglo executive Mr McAteer (65), who has an address at Greenrath, Tipperary town, Co. Tipperary will stand trial alongside three other Anglo and Irish Life and Permanent officials.
They are: John Bowe (52), from Glasnevin in Dublin, who had been head of capital markets at Anglo Irish Bank; Denis Casey (56), from Raheny, Dublin, who was chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent (IL&P) until 2009 and Peter Fitzpatrick (63), from Malahide, Dublin, who had been IL&P’s former director of finance.
They have all pleaded not guilty to conspiring together and with others to mislead investors through financial transactions to make the bank appear €7.2 billion more valuable than it was between 1 March and 30 September 2008 in Dublin.
On Friday over 270 people answering their jury summons passed through the court for the selection.
One man was excused after describing himself as “an adamant protester”, while another man was allowed go after revealing he had profited and lost from Anglo shares.
Some people were challenged by prosecution and defence and many were excused due to personal and work commitments.
Once the jurors had been sworn, Judge Nolan warned them not to investigate any matters concerning the case on the internet as that would be against the oath they had sworn. He also told them they must not discuss the case with other parties.
He repeated that the four accused were entitled to a fair and impartial trial and it was the duty of jury members to come to court with an open mind.
The judge said a person should not serve as juror if they had been employed by any of the financial institutions in question, knew any of the witnesses, the prosecution or the defence teams or had any connection to named accountancy firms, including Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC).
He said people who had been Anglo shareholders should also be excluded.
Judge Nolan emphasised that anyone who has expressed “very strong views” in a public forum such as the internet, which could cause embarrassment, should not serve on the jury.
He then listed the names of witnesses to be called, including 14 members of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI), previous Anglo employees, employees of Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland and RBC Capital Bank London.
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