Bailey to sue State

Ian Bailey is to sue gardaí and the State for damages after the Supreme Court ruled that he cannot be extradited to France for questioning about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The State is also facing a possible multimillion-euro bill after Mr Bailey’s legal team was given leave to apply for costs “at the highest scale” for the lengthy High Court and Supreme Court extradition proceedings.

The five judges unanimously overturned a High Court decision and ruled Mr Bailey, 54, should not be surrendered to France because no decision was taken to put him on trial there.

The beaten body of Ms du Plantier was found in an isolated pathway near her holiday home at Toormore, near Schull, Co Cork, two days before Christmas in 1996.

Mr Bailey, the self-confessed chief suspect in the investigation, has always strenuously denied any involvement in her death.

His appeal against that High Court decision took a dramatic twist last November when documents emerged in the case going back to 1998.

It is alleged a senior garda or gardaí tried to get former state solicitor for West Cork Malachy Boohig to put political pressure on then-DPP Eamonn Barnes to prosecute Mr Bailey. The Garda Commissioner and senior gardaí dispute the allegations.

In his ruling yesterday, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said this alleged attempt was made despite a view within the DPP’s office that there was no evidence to warrant the prosecution of Mr Bailey.

Mr Justice John Murray described the material as “dramatic and shocking” if true. He said it included a concern from the DPP that Mr Bailey’s surrender was being sought on the basis “of evidence and conclusion provided by what was regarded at the time as a thoroughly flawed and prejudiced Garda investigation culminating in a grossly improper attempt to achieve or even force a prosecutorial decision which accorded with that prejudice”.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is to investigate how gardaí handled the murder probe. The decision followed a complaint of alleged Garda misconduct lodged by Mr Bailey last December.

Mr Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said his client would press ahead with a stalled civil action against the State for wrongful arrest.

He described the review of the Garda investigation into the case by the office of the DPP as “the most devastating critique which I have ever read in my 32 years of experience as a criminal lawyer”.

Speaking after the case, Mr Bailey said that the first 10 years after the French woman died in 1996 had been hell and that the subsequent five years had been “difficult enough”.

In a later interview with TV3, he described his arrest and questioning.

“I was arrested on two occasions.

“On the first occasion, there was no explanation of how or why, how I might have done this, or why I might have done this. All I had was 12 hours of total accusation, ‘You killed her, you did it, you did it, you did it’, and I had this repeated to me time and time again. There was no attempt to, as far as I can see, investigate.”

However, the lawyer for the family of Ms du Plantier, Alain Spilliaert, indicated that French authorities were almost certain to try Ian Bailey in his absence for murder.


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