Lawyers for Ian Bailey have gone to the High Court in a bid to make the gardaí and State hand over documents which, they contend, support claims of malice against Mr Bailey in the Garda probe into the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Mr Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer said materials disclosed by the State for Mr Bailey’s successful appeal against extradition suggested at least one senior garda may have tried to put pressure on the DPP to prosecute Mr Bailey.
The materials also referred to gardaí “engendering hysteria” in the local community due to the portrayal of Mr Bailey, via leaks to the media and otherwise, “as a ruthless and unrestrained killer”, Mr Buttimer said in an affidavit.
That induced “blind panic” in at least one witness as early as Feb 1997 and caused concern in the DPP’s office that a climate would be created in which witnesses “became suggestible”, said Mr Buttimer.
The disclosed material was also probative of Mr Bailey’s claim of malice as it was suggested a named garda may have offered “cash, clothes, and hash” to a witness to obtain incriminating evidence against Mr Bailey, said Mr Buttimer.
Mr Buttimer is also seeking additional documents for Mr Bailey’s civil action against the Garda Commissioner and State claiming damages for alleged wrongful arrest and personal injuries. He is seeking all correspondence between former DPP Eamonn Barnes; Mr Barnes’s successors James Hamilton and Claire Loftus; the justice minister; and any garda concerning Mr Bailey.
Mr Buttimer wants all “unedited and/or unredac-ted” emails between Mr Barnes and parties supporting the recommendation in a report from Mr Barnes “that a person be prosecuted in relation to the Garda investigation into Ian Bailey”.
All documents contradicting or inconsistent with a 45-page analysis of the Garda investigation by the DPP’s office in 2001 are also sought, plus all material relating to the taking of statements from, or contact with, Marie Farrell, who alleged she was pressurised by gardaí into making a statement adverse to Mr Bailey.
Mr Buttimer is also seeking any documents showing contacts between gardaí and journalists in relation to the investigation into Mr Bailey.
Mr Bailey, aged 56, who last year won his appeal against his extradition to France in connection with the 1996 West Cork murder, has always denied any involvement. As well as his civil action, he has made a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman.
Discovery issues in the civil action were adjourned pending the outcome of the extradition proceedings.
They were mentioned yesterday to the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns who adjourned them to May 10.
A discovery motion in the civil case was issued in 2009 but additional documents are being sought arising from material disclosed by the State in Nov 2011, just days before Mr Bailey’s extradition appeal was due before the Supreme Court.
Mr Buttimer said the disclosed material is “highly relevant” to discovery issues in the civil action.
The State defendants dispute that assertion and say the latest discovery application appeared to reflect “a wide-ranging fishing expedition” and is inappropriate on grounds including the murder probe of Ms du Plantier is continuing.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved