Bailey: I’m suing State to clear my name

Says inability to attend mother’s funeral was ‘the cruellest abuse’

Ian Bailey yesterday told a High Court jury he brought a case for damages against the State to “establish once and for all” he had nothing to do with the murder of French film maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

He told his own counsel Martin Giblin on the third day of his action that he was bringing the case to “establish once and for all I had nothing to do with it and I am a victim of a conspiracy”.

He added: “It is to clear my name and ultimately to try knock out the dirty rotten stinking lies perpetuated by members of the Garda Síochána”.

Later, under cross-examination by state counsel, Mr Bailey said he was suing the gardaí and the State to highlight the wrong done to him and to seek compensation.

His cross-examination by senior counsel for the State, Luán O Braonáin, began in the High Court yesterday when he was asked did he hope to establish his innocence. Mr Bailey replied: “I am here as part of the compensatory process.”

When asked was he now saying he was not here to establish his innocence, he said: “I am here to highlight the civil wrong committed against me by your clients.”

Cross-examination of Mr Bailey, who is suing for his alleged wrongful arrest for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996, resumes next Tuesday. The State denies his claims.

The parents of Ms Toscan du Plantier had brought civil proceedings against him here but they were later discontinued and he was awarded costs against them but he decided not to pursue them for those costs. He said he had done that because “they are victims as well”.

Mr Bailey said he had suffered physically and mentally in the last 18 years and only in the past 12 months had some of his pre-arrest “joie de vivre” returned. He had to learn to “harden up emotionally” or he would have been destroyed.

Mr Bailey also told the court information emerged during his fight against extradition in which it was alleged a minister for justice had sought to have the journalist prosecuted for the murder.

Just before the Supreme Court overturned an order that he be extradited, that court was informed West Cork state solicitor Malachy Boohig had been told at a meeting with senior gardaí in 1998 that then justice minister John O’Donoghue “had used his influence to bring a prosecution against me”, Mr Bailey said.

Mr Boohig brought this to the attention of then DPP Eamonn Barnes, he said. Mr Barnes’ “conscience was pricked” in circumstances where Mr Bailey’s extradition was being sought and that was why this information came out, he said.

Despite the Supreme Court decision, Mr Bailey said he is now still effectively a prisoner in Ireland and cannot visit family members in Britain. If he set foot in another EU country, the entire extradition process could begin again, he said.

He had also been unable to visit his mother before she died in 2010 or even go to her funeral which was “the cruellest abuse of this whole thing”.

He could not even challenge the warrant in France because he had no legal standing there to do so.

The hearing resumes next Tuesday.


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