The recent banking scandals are not the first that the UK has seen. In February 1991 a purpose-built Court was erected to be the forum at which four British bankers were to be convicted.
The Blue Arrow case went down in history as
Britain’s most expensive criminal trial, costing an estimated £40m (roughly £70m adjusting for inflation).
The convictions of the bankers were short-lived when upon appeal, it was ruled that due to the length and the complexity of the subject matter,
the jury could not have reached a fair verdict.
The Serious Fraud Office is currently investigating Barclays, Rolls-Royce and the Libor rate fixing scandal – an example, says Mr Green, that it is not scared to take on
big City institutions.However, questions may be raised over the long lasting legacy of The Blue Arrow case, for David Green, the current
director of the Serious Fraud Office, admits the watchdog [SFO] may have held back from pursuing convictions over fears the trials might collapse.
David Green is keen to project the view that the SFO has changed its tune, with “over 60 people
working on [the Libor investigation] using additional ‘blockbuster funding’ from the Treasury to help cover costs and we’ve charged a number of people.”
The question that is being asked again (as it was asked in other technical areas of law such as tax evasion) is should jury’s be allowed to sit when matters become complex?
Mr Bosworth-Davies of the FCA sides with those pro-jury, for he states
“this idea that ordinary juries can’t understand, is the first mistake that all these clever people make. But actually the truth is [they] understand only too well…that’s why juries are
so good are dealing with dishonesty cases, because they get it.”
With Mr Green pointing to improvements in the court system since The Blue Arrow case, only time will tell whether any convictions that may result from the banks behaviour in the last 10 years, will ever stick.