Ian Bailey to fight conspiracy loss

Ian Bailey is to appeal the rejection by a jury of his High Court case earlier this year for conspiracy against An Garda Síochána and the State.

His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, confirmed the move last night following the issuing this week of judgment orders in relation to Mr Bailey’s unsuccessful civil case, which concluded last March.

“The issue of an appeal is now under active consideration,” Mr Buttimer said.

It is expected the appeal will take several months to prepare and that it will be early in the New Year before the matter comes before the Court of Appeal.

Mr Buttimer declined to comment further.

Mr Bailey had sued the Garda and the State for damages, alleging that he was wrongly arrested on suspicion of the murder of French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, at her holiday home in Toormore, Schull, in West Cork, in 1996.

He had also alleged that some gardaí had conspired to frame him for the killing.

The civil case, which opened in the High Court last November, heard evidence over 64 days and was the longest-running civil case ever heard by an Irish jury.

However, most of Mr Bailey’s claims were struck out on day 62 of the case when, following an application by the State’s legal team two days earlier, Mr Justice John Hedigan ruled that these claims were statute-barred, given that they had not been made within the six-year time limit required by law.

Mr Bailey’s claim for conspiracy by certain gardaí was allowed to proceed for consideration by the 11-person jury, which, after almost two hours of deliberation, found against him.

They found that three named gardaí had not conspired to obtain statements from the key witness, Marie Farrell, to implicate him in the murder.

Then in May, Mr Bailey was ordered to pay all of the legal costs associated with the case, which were estimated at between €2m and €5m. A stay was put on the costs order pending an appeal.

Mr Bailey’s legal team had argued that the State should cover half the costs given that it had applied so late in the case to have various claims, including claims of wrongful arrest, not go before the jury on grounds that they were statute-barred.

Mr Justice Hedigan described this argument as “unreal” and said that while it was “unfortunate” the case had taken so long, he said he was satisfied that it was necessary to have a “full ventilation” of the grave and very serious allegations which were being made by Mr Bailey, and that gardaí have an opportunity to defend the claims.

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