Sean Fitzpatrick’s trial has collapsed after the trial judge decided he should be acquitted on all charges against him. The former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank had denied making misleading, false or deceptive statements to auditors about personal loans. Today was day 126 of his trial.
Sean Fitzpatrick seemed taken aback when Judge John Aylmer began his ruling by saying he’d decided to direct he be acquitted on all charges. He smiled as the news sunk in. His daughter Sarah burst into tears on a small bench just a few steps away from the dock.
Mr. Fitzpatrick was accused of misleading Anglo Irish Bank’s auditors and of furnishing them with false information about multi-million euro loans he allegedly received from the bank between November 2002 and the end of September 2007.
He was initially charged with 27 offences, but many of them were dropped during the lengthy trial. In his ruling, Judge Aylmer said there was a real concern that Mr. Fitzpatrick was being denied his constitutional right to a fair trial. He said there were “fundamental errors” in the investigation carried out by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
The taking of witness statements from the prosecution’s key witnesses, Ernst & Young auditors Kieran Kelly and Vincent Bergin, came in for particular criticism. He said they were coached and there was evidence of cross-contamination.
The 68-year-old spoke briefly to reporters as he walked free from court this afternoon, and said it had been "a very long, tiring and difficult time" for him and for his family. He described today as "a wonderful day".
Mr. Fitzpatrick is expected to return to court for a final time tomorrow to hear the jurors being told of today’s ruling.