Bailey costs hearing to proceed next week

A hearing to determine liability for the substantial legal costs of Ian Bailey’s failed action for damages against the Garda commissioner and the State will proceed next week.

The costs hearing was scheduled for May 11 but will now proceed on May 12 after Mr Justice John Hedigan was told yesterday counsel for Mr Bailey was not available on the former date. The costs hearing is likely to last two hours, the judge heard.

The judge has separately listed, for mention only on May 11, the separate civil action by Jules Thomas, partner of Mr Bailey.

Ms Thomas is claiming damages on grounds including she was allegedly wrongfully arrest in February 1997 and September 2000 by gardaí investigating the late 1996 murder in west Cork of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

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The State previously indicated it intends to bring a pre-trial application aimed at halting Ms Thomas’ case on grounds it is statue barred, brought outside the applicable six year legal time limit.

Yesterday, Luán Ó Braonáin, counsel for the State, said they had received no formal written indication from Ms Thomas’ side concerning the statute application but her solicitor, Frank Buttimer, appeared to have indicated to the media in early April the case was proceeding.

Ronan Munro, counsel for Ms Thomas, said he was unaware of that and a new senior counsel had just been engaged by his side to deal with the statute point.

Mr Justice Hedigan said it would be best if communications concerning the case were made in court.

The judge listed the statute matter for mention on May 11 and also listed for mention that same day other proceedings in which contempt is alleged against various media entities concerning pre-trial matters in Mr Bailey’s case.

Mr Bailey brought his action over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

The costs of Mr Bailey’s 64 day legal action are expected to be at least €2m, and could be as high as €5m.

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