Parts of Ian Bailey’s case against the State were struck down last week after Mr Justice John Hedigan decided only two core questions could be decided by the jury.
He made the decision after hearing legal argument in the absence of the jury over two days and after the State moved to have the entire case withdrawn.
This followed an application by the State defendants to have the whole of the case withdrawn from the jury on a number of key points, including that it was statute barred. The decision of Mr Justice Hedigan could not be reported until the jury had finished its deliberations and the case was finished.
On day 60, after the jury had heard all the evidence, the State made its application. The judge ruled only two questions relating to alleged conspiracy should go before the jury.
Mr Justice Hedigan in his ruling said the alleged conspiracy claim, whether it happened or not was a matter for the jury.
The judge said the State defendants had claimed that Mr Bailey’s case was statute barred.
The State side also claimed it would be perverse for a properly instructed jury to find that there were no reasonable grounds of suspicion to arrest.
It also claimed there was no general supervisory jurisdiction by the courts over the gardaí and no claim can arise from proceeding under the European Arrest warrant because all those proceedings occurred by operation of the law. It also claimed no stateable case of conspiracy had been pleaded or made in evidence.
The Bailey side said it was too late to make such an application and after 60 days of hearing before a jury it amounted to an abuse of process.
The Bailey side contended the allegations made were so serious they needed to be decided by a jury and there was a public interest in having the jury decide.
In his judgment Mr Justice John Hedigan said he was reluctant to withdraw all or any part of the case from the jury.
“Nonetheless, where satisfied that no case in law exists after all the evidence has been heard I am obliged by the law to do so,”he said.
The application he said was undoubtedly made at the last possible moment.
The State defendants argued they needed to hear the evidence before they could move to strike out the whole case or a substantial part of it.
Ian Bailey’s proceedings, the judge, said were issued on May 1, 2007 and the statutory period is six years.
Any claims, the judge said, based upon actions occurring prior to May 1, 2001 are barred by operation of law, save those that gave rise to a continuing trespass.
The action arising from the arrests of Ian Bailey in February 1997 and in 1998, the judge said, are statute barred.
”The grounds for suspicion in both arrests were so strong that had the gardaí not arrested Ian Bailey they would have been derelict in their duty,” he said.
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