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Anglo Irish bosses plead not guilty

Friday, January 31 12:33:46

Three former Anglo executives have entered not guilty pleas to 16 charges each of unlawfully providing financial assistance to individuals for the purpose of buying shares in the bank in 2008.

Sean FitzPatrick (64), of Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow; William McAteer (62), of Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin; and Pat Whelan (50), of Coast Road, Malahide, Dublin are due to go on trial at the Criminal Courts of Justice complex in Dublin next Tuesday.

Today marks the start of formal preliminary processes for what will undoubtedly become Ireland's trial of the century as the court begins the process to select a jury.

Sean FitzPatrick of Whitshed Road, Greystones, William McAteer of Auburn Villas, Rathgar and Pat Whelan of Coast Road, Malahide have been charged with 16 counts of providing unlawful financial assistance to individuals in July 2008 to buy shares in the bank.

The panel to select jurors is huge: Around 500 people are expected to turn up after 1,500 summonses were issued for potential service in a trial that could drag on for many months.

Fifteen jurors will be selected for the trial, as against the standard 12, a measure permitted in lengthy trials under an amendment to the 1976 Juries Act, passed last year.

Although only 12 will retire to deliberate on a verdict, three substitutes will be present throughout the trial should a juror be unable to continue.

Given the anticipated level of public interest, the Courts Service has said it will turn a vacant courtroom at the Criminal Courts of Justice complex into an overflow viewing room for the trial. On most days, members of the public will be able to watch proceedings by video link in Court One, which is usually used as a District Court.

While the public will be admitted to the main courtroom, a large portion of the available space will be taken up by assigned seating for the legal teams and the media.