Sean Fitzpatrick `free to go´ as judge directs not guilty verdict

Aylmer said key witnesses had been coached and the ODCE had failed to seek out evidence of innocence as well as guilt, according to RTE.

Mr FitzPatrick was speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin after a judge said that he intends to direct the jury today to drop the allegations.

After being told on Tuesday that he would be acquitted, Mr Fitzpatrick described the trial as very long, tiring and hard.

"As you can appreciate it's a wonderful day for me and my family".

And when asked if he was going to celebrate, he replied "that was last night".

He said: 'I said everything I had to say yesterday. I don't want to be rude but I don't want to speak or make any comments'.

The longest criminal trial in the history of the Irish state has collapsed after a judge ordered the acquittal of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

Mr FitzPatrick was charged in December 2012 of knowingly or recklessly making false, misleading or deceptive statements to Anglo's auditors from 2002 to 2007.

The jury forewoman signed the issue paper on which the court registrar had written "not guilty by direction of the judge" next to all the charges.

The judge told the jurors he would forgive them if they had been reading newspapers or the internet about the case in these circumstances.

The judge said: "The thrust of what I've decided is that there was an investigation of the charges against Mr Fitzpatrick which fell short of that which an accused person is entitled to".

He said he had made a decision based on law that the prosecution had not established a sufficient case to go to a jury.

He added: "There are shortcomings in the evidence in relation to each of the charges which meant that there was an insufficient case".

Judge John Aylmer said the investigation into the alleged refinancing of loans worth €122m at the bank's year-end dates between 2002 and 2007 was flawed by witness coaching and contamination of witness statements.

Outside court afterwards, Mr. Fitzpatrick spoke of his relief that it was over.

Lawyers for the Director of Public Prosecutions said the trial should continue and should be decided by the jury.

The first case collapsed in 2015 after it was disclosed that documents held by the ODCE had been shredded by one of its officials.

Mr. Fitzpatrick had always denied misleading Anglo's auditors about millions of euro in loans.

  • Zachary Reyes