The jury in the multi-million euro theft trial of former solicitor Michael Lynn has been sent home for the weekend.
The jurors in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial retired to the jury room on Friday morning. They deliberated for about three hours before suspending deliberations.
The jury foreman asked if they would be allowed to see a transcript of all of Mr Lynn's evidence, along with the evidence of one former Bank of Ireland banker. Judge Nolan said he would consider the matter and sent the jury home until Monday.
In his charge to the jury earlier on Friday, Judge Martin Nolan urged the jurors to disregard anything they may have read about Mr Lynn in the papers in recent years. “You may like or dislike Mr Lynn,” he told the jury. “He is still entitled to a fair trial.”
Judge Nolan said Mr Lynn is an innocent man and will only become a guilty man if the jury collectively decides he is guilty.
He said the big question in this case was whether there was deception. He said the banks voluntarily made orders for the monies to be paid to Mr Lynn.
“That is not a problem,” he said. “The State is saying these payments were made as a result of deception. If they can't prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, you can't consider a conviction.”
Fraud or charade?
Judge Nolan noted that Mr Lynn “knew what he was going to say” and knew the names of the bankers he says were involved in secret deals. He said the defence was “not powerless” and could subpoena witnesses they wanted to give evidence.
He told the jury that if it concluded Mr Lynn had permission to use the funds from the banks for his overseas property developments, then it must acquit him.
He said if the jurors didn't believe Mr Lynn had permission from the banks, then “that's not the end of it.” He said the jury must then examine the State's case and conclude that they have proven it beyond reasonable doubt, in order to convict Mr Lynn.
He said the jury must decide what was happening - was it a fraud perpetrated by Lynn, or a charade between him and the banks?
Mr Lynn (53) of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow is on trial accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions. He has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 2007.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties, in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance.
The financial institutions involved are Bank of Ireland, National Irish Bank (later known as Danske Bank), Irish Life and Permanent, Ulster Bank, ACC Bank, Bank of Scotland Ireland and Irish Nationwide Building Society.
Mr Lynn has told his trial that the banks were aware he had multiple loans on the same properties and that this was “custom and practice” among bankers in Celtic Tiger Ireland. He has said he had “secret deals” with a number of bankers, who gave him permission to use the loan money for his property developments abroad.
He told the court he and former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton were involved in a secret profit share agreement in relation to a property development in Portugal.