Drumming up sympathy for a white-collar crime

Drumming up sympathy for a white-collar crime

The sentence handed down this week to the former Anglo Irish Bank boss fitted his crime

No criminal charges can be brought against anyone in Ireland – even the bankers of the Celtic Tiger era – for the perceived sins of arrogance or avarice. The courts can’t punish displays of incompetence, ineptitude or indiscipline. Deliberate recklessness might be a reason, in certain circumstances, to pursue criminal conviction, but only if there are breaches of existing company laws. Stupidity, vanity and displays of pride or fear don’t cut it either as reasons for prosecution. While many of us might like to more rigorously punish the bankers blamed for bringing Ireland to its knees a decade ago – and costing us €64 billion in an only partially successful attempt to rescue the banking system – the fact is some things are covered by the law, others aren’t.

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