THE High Court has ruled Ian Bailey is not entitled at this stage to certain Garda files and documents for his action over alleged wrongful arrest in connection with the murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork in 1996.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said yesterday he was refusing the discovery application “at this stage” because the Garda investigation into the murder was not closed and other events had intervened, with the Supreme Court yet to decide Mr Bailey’s appeal against his extradition to France in connection with the death of Ms du Plantier.
It would be “most inappropriate” to direct a trawl through the Garda investigation when a trial may yet take place in another jurisdiction and Mr Bailey’s own position could be prejudiced, the judge said.
If the Supreme Court rules against the extradition of Mr Bailey, his lawyers may renew the discovery application, he added.
Mr Bailey, aged 53, of The Prairie, Schull, Co Cork initiated a civil action in 2007 against the Garda Commissioner and the state over his arrest in February 1997 and January 1998. He is claiming damages, including punitive damages, over alleged unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, assault and battery and harassment.
His proceedings followed an internal garda review ordered in 2005 by the then Garda Commissioner after Mr Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, complained Mr Bailey was arrested on foot of a statement made by shopkeeper Marie Farrell, which she later withdrew.
The review was carried out by Assistant Garda Commissioner Ray McAndrew who recommended a prosecution in his report to the DPP but, in July 2008, the DPP decided there would be no prosecution.