Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The White Collar Trial.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 25, 2013 in Irish Politics, Not quite serious. |
Still, at least we get to see some state funded transvestitism.

Still, at least we get to see some state funded transvestitism.

Repost: The central issue, that wealthy powerful people abuse their positon to enrich themselves, gets pushed to the back of the line very quickly. The issue becomes one of “due process” and people’s right to “their good names”. Isn’t it funny how the bigger the crime, the greater the concern about people’s “good name”? If we had tried Hitler here, learned counsel would have tried to hold back the testimony of camp survivors, instead speaking of Hitler as a pillar of the community and a member of the local Toastmasters chapter. “And as for his alleged hatred of people of the Jewish faith, m’lud, I challenge anyone to prove that these lists are not in fact to ensure that all of his Jewish friends get a nice card at Hanukkah, and anyone who says different will find a writ heading in their direction!”

Next stage is the fact that our legislators spend so much time fiddling expenses and corrupting the planning process that they have little time to pass modern corporate governance or anti-corruption legislation, so we end up prosecuting people under archaic laws like the Corrupt Practices (Cattle Rustling and Chastity Belt Tampering) Act 1889. This leads to the alleged having to be found guilty by providing documentation signed in the blood of twelve virgins and true confirming the fact.

Finally, if we are even lucky to reach that stage, the jewel in the crown of Irish judicial tomfoolery: The inability to get a fair trial. Marvel as the accused claim that they cannot get a fair trial because the media has turned the country against them, and the jury did not arrive in a sealed pod from Venus having never heard of, well, anything.

Cue collapse of trial, public outrage, questions as to why the government didn’t just pass legislation ages ago to move this stuff to the Special Criminal Court (After all, these guys have nearly brought down the state in a way the Provos could only have dreamed of) and promises of a public inquiry to investigate. Now press Reset for next trial.


Dec 31, 2010 at 7:31 am

I find myself thoroughly unconvinced. I know, many will retort that I would say that, wouldn’t I ?

But that itself exemplifies the lack of rigour in the approach to these matters. Just what is real strength of the argument that all lawyers have a vested interest in preserving the status quo ? (Yes, many do, but all ? No).

Problems in dealing with white-collar crime are not peculiar to Ireland, though it is not unfair to say that ours may be worse.

But a more common problem in current discourse is the glib assumption that bad results must be the result of wrong-doing, and criminal wrong-doing at that, and our establishment is uniquely remiss in putting the criminals behind bars. An example is the Noonan 40 episode, wherein Fine Gael’s Finance spokesman claimed that the U.S. had already put 40 bankers in prsion for thier roles in the 2008 meltdown. I am still waiting to hear of the identity of even one. I don’t expect to get it, because from my own observations, the correct number is zero.

What about Madoff, you say ?

Well, point one is that Madoff was not a banker. Point 2 is that, even if he had been, his story does not show that the U.S. is so different. For years, people had been trying to get the SEC to deal with Madoff. The SEC saw no problem.

Eventually, Madoff blew the whistle on himself, and pleaded guilty. What justification is there for the belief that the same events would have a radically different result here ?

Dec 31, 2010 at 7:48 am

As for “the jewel in the crown of Irish judicial tomfoolery: The inability to get a fair trial”, I know of only one case where this happened. That was controversial, even in legal circles, but legal circles would not question the legitimacy of the issue of the possibility of fair trials in some circumstances.

The thinking, though it barely deserves the name, behind this leitmotiv of, especially PD types, is that only the obviously guilty resort to the law. Whenever the State, especially if their lot are in power when it happens, seeks to use powers against unpopular people or groups, resistance is evil and only their uniquely devious nature and “obvious” vested interest makes the lawyers look at it differently.

After all, so they say, the courts are only there to “process” the criminals on their way to jail, or to make unpopular parties pay damages for the wrongs that the chattering classes have already declared to have been committed beyond question.

Go on: tell me why it is *never* reasonable to postpone a trial because a Government minister has used the media to attempt to predetermine the result.

Jason O
Dec 31, 2010 at 9:37 am

I suppose we are still waiting for our Ivan Boesky moment in Ireland.

Dec 31, 2010 at 11:39 am

Ugh ! Typos and misplaced punctuation have taken all the wind from my sails for now :-)

I may return to the Boesky moment at another time

Dec 31, 2010 at 11:44 am

I know Jason will have understood, but for those of you waiting to jump on me, the typos and misplaced punctuation in question were my own.

Nevertheless, based on Jason’s evaluations, there is a certain group who are welcome to jump on me any time :-)

(Sorry, dear. Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen).

Jason O
Jan 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Fergus, was that a desperate plea for a blog groupie? A Bloupie? Because it (hardly) ever happens!



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