Lawyers for disgraced Anglo Irish Bank chief Sean Fitzpatrick fear a media witch hunt when he finally goes to trial next year.
They have also claimed the Irish media are fuelling a ‘lynch mob’ mentality against Fitzpatrick and other Anglo bosses.
The comments were made as Fitzpatrick’s lawyers sought the early appointment of a trial judge to deal with disclosure.
They claim the appointment is necessary to prevent ‘a media frenzy whipping up a lynch mob mentality’ in relation to the upcoming trial of former Anglo Irish Bank executives according to the Irish Times.
The report says the trial of the bank’s former chairman Seán Fitzpatrick and two former directors was before Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in order to check on the progress of the case.
Fitzpatrick, William McAteer and Pat Whelan have been charged with 16 counts of allegedly providing unlawful financial assistance to individuals to buy shares in the bank.
Judge Nolan said the case would be dealt with in the usual manner.
The Irish Times says that lawyers for the men and for the State all stressed that that they felt it was necessary for the smooth running of the case to appoint a judge now to deal with the large volume of material and issues which may arise leading up to the trial on January 14th next.
Whelan’s lawyer Brendan Grehan said “I don’t think this case can be progressed to trial without a judge taking charge of it now.”
“Applications are going to arise, apart from issues of relevance and privilege in relation to disclosure in the case.
“It would also be appropriate to appoint someone to take charge of the trial now who can give directions not just to the parties but also to the media.
“In the six months leading up to the trial it is vital that an air of calm be restored to the public from which a jury will be drawn.
“We simply cannot have a fair trial take place where a media frenzy is whipping up a lynch mob mentality.”
State lawyer Uná Ní Raifeartaigh admitted: “The issue of publicity is of concern to the DPP. It is important that in the last six months the media would be mindful in matters that may ultimately lead to the postponement of the trial.”
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