‘Thorough’ legal review being done on Gsoc’s Ian Bailey report

The long-waited Gsoc Bailey report is undergoing a “thorough” internal legal review and could be some months away from being published, the Irish Examiner understands, writes Cormack O'Feeffe.

The report of the massive investigation — thought to be up to 100 pages long — is the result of an inquiry which started in February 2012.

Gsoc probed a complaint from Ian Bailey of garda misconduct in relation to the murder investigation of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in December 1996.

The investigation has faced a succession of challenges and delays — the report had initially been expected last February.

It is understood Gsoc is being particularly careful with this investigation to ensure all “interested parties”, including gardaí (serving or retired) and witnesses, have been afforded due process and fair treatment.

This is partly to mitigate any threat of a judicial review being taken.

The internal legal review, which started in recent weeks, is also checking to see if any individual may have committed a criminal offence and whether the file should go to the DPP.

This is despite previous indications from Gsoc that a file would not be sent to the DPP, on the belief there was no possibility of any criminal charge being brought based on the evidence.

It is understood that the internal legal review is standard in large or complex investigations and involves a slow and methodical perusal of every page of a report to see if the investigation was fair and exhaustive and to spot if any further checks or inquiries need to be made.

The report, along with any necessary legal advice, will be forwarded to the three-person commission at the head of Gsoc.

The commission will have to make a number of decisions, including who should be given a full report, or a redacted report, and what condensed report should be published generally.

The Bailey investigation has been hit by a number of issues, including initial access to garda documentation, interviewing a large number of witnesses, securing copies of the so-called Bandon tapes, and a High Court case taken by Mr Bailey.

This was followed by changes at the top of Gsoc at the end of last year and the publication of the Fennelly report earlier this year.

Mr Bailey has expressed concern at the delays.

When contacted, a Gsoc spokesman said: “The report is currently going through internal control and QA mechanisms which include such things as legal review.”

Asked would the report be sent to the DPP, he said: “This has not yet been decided by the commission.”

He said a decision had not yet been made on whether a full or partial report would be provided to the public. He said they do not yet have a timeframe for publication.

This story first appeared in the here.


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