19th January 2021
On another busy Zoom show to start the beginning of 2021 the discussion revolved around the legal implications of the riot on Capitol Hill on the 6th of January when Donald Trump supporters attempted to stop the count of the electoral college vote and the ratification of President Elect Biden by invading Capitol buildings, the actions being widely condemned both nationally and internationally. Our contributor was of the view that the sanctions that are currently available, being the invoking of the 25th amendment of the Constitution to remove President Trump from office and/or impeachment would not likely come to pass due to the practical time constraints. He thought of the 2 proposed sanctions that the latter was more likely if the republicans wanted to distance themselves from President Trump. Seamus Gunn was more interested in the possible criminal sanctions that could follow after the 20th of January when President Trump leaves office, highlighting that incitement to riot is illegal under US federal law and conviction on such a felony could attract a heavy custodial sentence, in some states 10 years. He also reminded Greg Hughes that there are other investigations which have been ongoing for a considerable number of years, some of which were being addressed by the District Attorney of Manhattan and that he thought that President Trump’s latest statement where he mentioned reconciliation and an orderly and seamless hand over of power, that this was more as a result of an apprehension on his part as to what would follow after he left office by way of a criminal investigation. Greg Hughes put forward the proposition that President Trump may intend to start a new party to rival the Democrats and the Republicans. Seamus Gunn thought this highly unlikely as his support base would be critically eroded by his actions of late and that the vast majority of Republicans would not go with him. He was also of the view that this could be the beginning of the end of Donald Trump’s future political ambitions. He expects more to follow in the coming days and weeks, that may be more interesting after President Biden has been inaugurated – “May you live in interesting times”.
10th December 2020
On another busy Friday and our 9th remote contribution to the Greg Hughes Show, the early discussion revolved around the report by James Hamilton, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, published this week on white collared crime and the agencies investigating Corruption, Fraud and Economic crime. Our contributor, Seamus Gunn, was of the view that there are already 3 agencies in place, being SIPO (Standards in Public Office Commission), the ODCE (Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement) and the DPP (the Director of Public Prosecutions), but what was required was an emphasis on bringing together the various disciplines and properly funding them with the resources necessary to tackle an issue which has been ongoing for decades. He referred back to the Flood and Moriarty Tribunals in the late 1990s, both of which went on for the better part of a decade plus, Flood investigating planning matters while Moriarty’s emphasis was on payment to politicians.
Seamus Gunn also referenced the collapse of the prosecution of Sean Fitzpatrick by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in 2017 as a result of the potential infringement of his Constitutional Right to a Fair Trial, making the point that the issues that white collar crime give rise to and the remedies needed to tackle them have been in existence for some time and that while there may be the will to tackle the matter, the way has not yet been found. He highlighted some aspects of the recommendations in relation to search warrants to obtain electronic passwords, the extension of time for holding suspects to 7 days for the purpose of investigation, the required legislation to deal with former members of the Oireachtas who have contravened obligations while in office, as well as tackling nepotism and the improper use of influence, all of which he said would go a long way to addressing the issues but without the resources and the determination to see it through, he had some reservations. A comparison was drawn between insurance fraud investigation and white-collar crime. Our contributor was of the view that insurance fraud would pale into insignificance when measured against the potential criminal activity involved in managing € 1.8 trillion, which is Ireland’s exposure and risk to economic crime in the financial services. He said that while the report and the recommendations and the review was to be welcomed and the response to it, he would remain somewhat skeptical about its implementation going forward.
Some interesting land issues arose on the following Q&A session which continue to give rise to disputes between neighbors.