At last we have a local election candidate brave enough, intelligent enough and with the ‘liathroidi’ to tackle the issue of the day – the rogue bankers.
Gary Fitzgerald, a Green Party member who is running in the local elections for Dublin city Council, has threatened to take a private criminal prosecution against rogue bankers.
He is doing this because of the depth of anger he is experiencing on the doorsteps since the banking crisis started to unfold.
Gary is planning on using a 19th century Act to initiate the prosecutions against the bankers.
Here’s the science bit - under the Indictable Offences Act 1849 every individual has the right to start a criminal prosecution.
All cases start in the District Court and if the alleged wrong is a serious offence then the District Court judge can issue a summons ordering the accused to appear in court.
It is then the responsibility of the individual taking the case to make out a prima facie case. At this point the DPP must continue with the case and can only stop the prosecution for ‘good reason’ and after the ‘fullest consideration’ according to a judgement of the Supreme Court.
He said his constituents are worried that Irish bank bosses, whose actions have contributed to the financial crisis, will retire with handsome rewards while the ordinary tax-payer picks up the tab.
"The Gardaí, the Director of Public Prosecutions and CAB have a broad range of powers to pursue bankers who have committed criminal offences, but if for some reason, that doesn't happen, I am prepared to exercise my rights as a private citizen and bring a private criminal prosecution."
And there is a precedent in this type of thing – the Mahon tribunal was originally instigated by two concerned citizens who felt the authorities had failed to prosecute breaches of criminal law.