The Director of Public Prosecutions, Claire Loftus, has just published her annual report.
In the Foreword she issued the following warning to the media.
I want to take this opportunity to say something generally about the risks of pre-trial publicity interfering with the right of an accused person to a fair trial.
The media and commentators have a high degree of responsibility to ensure that not only do they not commit a contempt of court by publishing or broadcasting prejudicial material but also that such publicity is not the cause of a trial being postponed for a long period, or even indefinitely.
These risks increase as any trial date approaches.
Could it be that her warning is aimed at the editor of Village magazine, Michael Smith, who issued the following challenge to Ms. Loftus and her office in the August/September issue?
Dear Ms. Loftus,
The whole country wants you to prosecute possible offences arising out of the planning and payments tribunals and banking collapses, which have devastated this country and disenfranchised a generation.
Democracy depends on the prosecutability of alleged white-collar crime.
If you do not initiate prosecutions of UniCredit Bank Ireland, John Bowe (formerly of Irish Anglo Bank), Michael Fingleton (formerly of INBS), Michael Lowry TD and allegedly ‘corrupt’ former Monarch Properties executives as a start, Village will itself generate prosecutions in early September.
The Editor and Directors of Village magazine.
The citizens of Ireland owe a debt of gratitude to people like Michael Smith for their courage in challenging the might of a state that has for decades refused to act against the disease of white-collar and political corruption.