State failing in its duty to enforce law

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The following very serious allegations of criminal activity emerged during the recent Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

The deliberate destruction of evidence.

The coaching of witnesses.

The altering of witness statements.

The former solicitor for the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell has admitted that he destroyed evidence.

It has been accepted by the current Director of ODCE, Mr. Ian Drennan, that senior members of his staff participated in the coaching of witnesses and the altering of witness statements. It has also been acknowledged that the former Director of ODCE, Mr. Paul Appleby was involved in some of these activities.

The following three facts also emerged during the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

One: That Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two: That Supt. Lordan, after discussing the alleged crime with a colleague deemed it was not necessary to launch a Garda investigation.

Three: That the whole issue (the destruction of evidence) was outlined to Judge Mary Ellen Ring and she did not indicate that any issue should be raised with the Garda.

To my knowledge Garda officers do not have the power to decide whether or not an alleged crime should or should not be investigated. To my knowledge such decisions come strictly within the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is deeply disturbing that a judge, on being informed that evidence in a criminal trial had been deliberately destroyed, would not instruct the Gardai to investigate the matter.

It seems clear to me that the law enforcement agencies of the State are failing to act in an appropriate manner in response to the alleged crimes as outlined above.

With that in mind I have submitted the following complaints:

One:

Formal complaint submitted to Cobh Gardai on 10 July concerning the alleged crimes of ODCE solicitor Mr. Kevin O’Connell and other staff members of the ODCE.

Formal Complaint

I wish to formally report the following allegations of criminal activity that emerged during the course of the trial of the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick.

One: That the former solicitor for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, contrary to law, deliberately destroyed documents that were relevant evidence in a criminal trial.

Two: That, contrary to law, witnesses were coached and statements altered by Mr. O’Connell and other senior civilian ODCE staff which resulted in the contamination of evidence.

Both of the above allegations have been accepted as true by Mr. O’Connell and the Director of ODCE, Ian Drennan.

(See attached ODCE press release).

Signed……………………………………………………………………

Anthony Sheridan

Two:

Formal complaint submitted to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) against Chief Supt. Lordan concerning his decision not to investigate the destruction of evidence in a criminal trial.

11 July 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find complaint against Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, for failing to properly carry out his duty on coming into possession of significant evidence of criminal activity.

This complaint is based on a report in the Irish Times dated 23 May 2017 reporting on the trial of former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick (The full report is included below).

Specifically, the complaint is based on the following facts arising in the report.

One:  That Chief superintendent Lordan was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two:  That Chief Superintendent Lordan wrongly took it upon himself not to investigate the illegal destruction of said documents.

Signed……………………………..

Anthony Sheridan

Note:  It was my intention to make a formal complaint against Judge Mary Ellen Ring for her failure to act on being informed about the destruction of evidence.  Unfortunately, it seems there is no authority in Ireland to which citizens can make complaints regarding the actions of judges.

Copy to:

ODCE

Dept. of jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Media

 

 

Fitzpatrick decision: A Banana Republic decision

 

By Anthony Sheridan

If I was an establishment judge and wanted to make a questionable and disgraceful decision that would damage my country and its people I would announce my decision the day after a major international act of terrorism.

If I was an establishment politician responsible for setting up a law enforcement agency with a mandate to bring white-collar criminals to justice but who were also friends of my political class I would ensure that the agency was starved of funds, starved of effective legislation and led by compliant staff who were willing to operate under political instruction.

 

Dolores O’Riordan judgement a disgrace

breaking-bad-law

By Anthony Sheridan

The decision by judge Patrick Durkan to allow Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan buy her way out of a criminal offence is a disgrace.

First, let’s look at the offences committed by O’Riordan.

Caused a disturbance on an Aer Lingus flight including stepping on the foot of a flight attendant.

Assaulted two members of the airport police at Shannon.

Obstructed a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Escaped from police custody.

Headbutted and spat in the face of a policeman.

Falsely accused police officers of sexual assault.

These are very serious offences and would normally result in a conviction and probably a prison sentence. The judge had three options:

Acquit her on the grounds that she was suffering from a mental illness at the time.

Find her guilty and impose an appropriate sentence.

Let her off completely but make it look respectable under the cloak of the court poor box charade.

By letting her off the judge lessens respect for the law and increases the suspicion that the court poor box is nothing more than a mechanism under which those with influence can avoid the consequences of having a criminal record.

The judge is reported as saying that O’Riordan was treated in exactly the same way as any other member of the public but then went on to completely contradict that claim by saying:

Because she is a public figure, she not only had to deal with any sentence or sanction that the court imposed but also one that the public would impose.

This means, in effect, that public figures are entitled to greater leniency simply because they are public figures.

In my opinion O’Riordan should have been found guilty, fined €6,000 and told to get on with living with the reality of having a criminal record, just like ordinary people have to.

The court poor box perversion should be discontinued before it does any more damage to the standing of the law.

O'Brien repeats serious allegation against judiciary

On Thursday last I wrote about Denis O’Brien’s extremely serious allegation that the judiciary had put a ring of steel around Justice Moriarty because they knew he was never up to the job.

During an interview with Pat Kenny (Friday) O’Brien initially seemed to withdraw the allegation when Kenny suggested it would be an appalling vista if the entire judiciary were to collude against one man.

O’Brien said:

You’ve got to separate the wider judiciary from Justice Moriarty. I believe I was stitched by Justice Moriarty but I’m not in any way critical of the wider judicial community.

It’s a measure of O’Brien’s lack of mental coordination that, minutes later, he repeated the allegation when Kenny again suggested he take his case to the courts.

O’Brien:

Look, do you know a lot about the legal profession, the judiciary and the Law Society. There’s a code amongst them all that they don’t take each other on, they don’t criticise each other.

And:

There’s a ring of steel around Moriarty because they knew, the judiciary knew, that he was never up to the job, he’s a Circuit Court judge.

As I wrote on Thursday, in a real democracy with proper law enforcement O’Brien would by now find himself before a judge explaining his accusations.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has responded to the hysterical rants of O’Brien and Lowry regarding Justice Moriarty and the judiciary in general saying:

Statements which endanger public confidence in our judiciary and in our courts are entirely unacceptable and are to be deplored.

Legal expert Professor Gerry Whyte of Trinity Law School said that if criticism of the judiciary went so far as to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice then we’re talking about an offence called scandalising the court.

If Minister Shatter genuinely thinks the comments are unacceptable then he should immediately initiate proceedings against O’Brien and Lowry.

One law for rich and powerful

Letter in this morning’s Irish Independent.

One law for rich and powerful

NOT surprisingly, the fugitive solicitor Michael Lynn has refused to return to Ireland to give evidence in a High Court case (Irish Independent, September 20).

How touching, therefore, to see State and legal authorities facilitating this fugitive in tying up loose ends from his previous work by providing a video link from his bolt hole somewhere in London.

It is, however, puzzling to us ordinary folk how the State can make such arrangements with this man and yet seem totally incapable of taking the necessary action that would make him accountable for the very serious allegations he is facing.

Perhaps those same authorities could arrange an annual two-week amnesty for Mr Lynn so that he could return home and nostalgically breathe in the air of a country where the level of accountability apparently depends on one’s profession and standing in society.

Anthony Sheridan

Different people, different justice

November 2nd: Seven men arrested for alleged attempted robbery.

Three days later:

November 5th: Men hauled before court under armed guard to receive justice.

Sum involved: €1.2 million.

October 15th: Story breaks of solicitor allegedly involved in massive property fraud.

Twenty days later:

November 3rd: Judge is considering whether such matters might warrant investigation by those charged with criminal law.

Sum involved: At least €70 million.

The law outside the law?

Yet another solicitor is under scrutiny for allegedly robbing his clients. Michael Lynn, solicitor and property developer is under investigation by the Law Society for what they sheepishly describe as ‘acts of dishonesty’ possibly involving millions of euros.

On Liveline last Thursday (18th Oct.) a caller related how his mother and father were robbed by another solicitor, a case that demonstrates just how well protected this privileged group is from real justice.

In 1981, the couple bought a property in Nassau Street Dublin. Unfortunately, they employed a corrupt solicitor by the name of Johnathan Brooks.

He never disclosed to them that he was the owner of the property and on the day they bought the property Brooks changed the leases on the two shops on the ground floor so that they reverted to him after a number of years. This crooked solicitor also robbed the registration and stamp duty on the property.

When the corruption was discovered in 1985 a complaint was made to the Law Society but they didn’t want to know. This is not unusual behaviour for this august body.

After over a year of stalling the matter eventually came before the disciplinary committee of the High Court. This court has the power to strike off a solicitor.

The caller related how badly he was treated by the three sitting judges and claimed that they were sitting in judgement of him rather than the corrupt solicitor. Eventually, Brooks admitted that he had ‘forgotten to do the paperwork’. (A case of tribunalitis?).

He assured the judges that he had paid all the fines, settled with Revenue and stamped all the deeds. The learned gentlemen never asked for proof of these claims and some years later the caller discovered that Brooks had lied to the court.

In all, Brooks robbed about €15 million from clients in his short criminal career, he committed suicide in 1992.

Joe Duffy naively asked about reimbursement for the victims of this rogue solicitor from the Law Society. In fact, the Law Society did everything they could to keep this very valuable property for themselves. It was only when they were threatened with the High Court and given a sum of money that they relented.

It took this family 24 years to get what was rightfully theirs back from this criminal solicitor and the greed of the Law Society. The caller said that of about 100 solicitors he had dealt with in his life, only about five were honest – he’s lucky.

He also said that solicitors should be put in stocks and pelted with rotten vegetables – I agree.

A disgraceful decision

In a functional democracy former Fianna Fail TD, Michael Collins would be facing at least five years in jail with fines and penalties running into millions.

In Ireland, he was let off with a 12 month suspended sentence and a pathetic €25,000 fine.

Judge Carroll Moran said that what Mr. Collins did was very serious, TD’s after all, he said make the laws of the land, including the tax laws and Mr. Collins had violated those laws.

The crimes committed by Collins are indeed serious but it is obvious that the judge is of the opinion that a man of Collins’ ‘calibre’ should not have to actually suffer the indignity of paying for his crimes.

Here are the excuses accepted and given by the judge. (My comments are in brackets).

Collins had settled his liabilities with the Revenue Commissioners.

(This was after Collins had turned his nose up at two amnesties in 1993 and 2001. Failure to comply with the 1993 amnesty carried a mandatory jail sentence. The word ‘mandatory’ is still not understood in Ireland).

He had suffered public disgrace, the humiliation of the court proceedings which had effectively ended his political career.

(Every citizen hauled before the courts suffers disgrace and humiliation. This excuse is invariably accepted by judges, when it involves a white collar criminal).

He also added that this was a severe punishment for a man in Mr. Collins’ position.

(This is an outrageous statement for a professional judge to make. It effectively confirms what many have often suspected, that there is one law for the rich and powerful and another for the poor).

Had there been no case he most likely would have stood for Fianna Fail in Limerick West and probably would have won.

(Again, this is an outrageous view to take. Are we to take it that a hardened criminal will also escape justice if he pleads that if it wasn’t for his crimes he would probable have joined the priesthood?).

He had severe health difficulties, diabetes, high blood pressure and severe anxiety. His doctor said that it could lead to a stroke if he was agitated and given a prison sentence.

(This excuse has the same credibility as the infantile ‘dog ate my homework’ plea. Again, this ridiculous excuse is almost always accepted when made by a white collar criminal. Neither does the judge explain how a man, with health problems so severe that he was in danger of a stroke, could fight a gruelling election campaign).

This case once again demonstrates that judges have little understanding of the damage done to society by corrupt politicians and even less understanding of the greater damage done when the legal system fails to properly punish white collar crime.

Good of society v interests of individual

When all the razzmatazz is stripped from the Paris Hilton story we are left with a very simple situation. A citizen who broke probation for a relatively minor crime was given 45 days in jail. A sheriff decided to release her to house arrest after two days but the judge who sentenced her was having none of it and threw her back in jail.

The judge was right. Clearly, he believes that justice should be seen to be done, that people with influence are not given any special treatment. In other words, the judge sees law enforcement and respect for the law as more important than the needs of any individual citizen. The outcome is bad for the unfortunate citizen but good for American society.

In Ireland, the opposite is usually the case as the recent ODCE/NIB case clearly illustrated. Even though Mr. Curran was part of a major criminal conspiracy a judge decided that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to ban him from company management because it might damage his honesty and integrity. The outcome in this case is good for the individual but very bad for Irish society.

The American judge looks out and acts for the greater good of society, the Irish judge looks in and protects the interests of one dodgy individual thus seriously damaging the credibility of the Irish justice system.

Still waiting for real action on white collar crime

“The Competition Authority’s case into the price fixing of cars consumed all their resources over the three year period it took to bring to trial”

“I believe that cartels are endemic in the industry.”

The above quotes from RTE News on Feb 9th last are indicative of how seriously white collar crime is taken in this country.

The Competition Authority is only provided with enough resources to conduct one investigation into one aspect of one industry. Meanwhile, consumers continue to be robbed of countless millions in the motor industry and any number of other cartels operating with impunity.

In addition to lack of resources for the Competition Authority, the naivety of judges is also a major contributing factor in the continuing rip off of consumers.

Denis Manning, the criminal in this case, spouted the age old excuse of age and ill health and the judge fell for it. This is despite the fact that Manning steadfastly refused to cooperate with the investigation thus prolonging it by up to 18 months.