“You hold the scales of justice in your hands,” Mr Justice John Hedigan told the jury in the Ian Bailey case before they retired to consider their verdict.
The judge spent about an hour charging the jury before they retired to deliberate in the case of Ian Bailey who has sued the State for damages over his treatment during the investigation of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996.
Mr Justice Hedigan told the jury of seven men and four women they must focus exclusively on the two questions to which the case had been narrowed.
The judge said they must be fair and objective and both sides deserved no less.
Comparisons to a David and Goliath case could be misleading because Goliath was just as entitled to justice as David, Mr Justice Hedigan said.
“There are real people on both sides of this case,” he said and told them to deal with the issues as you would an important one in life such as buying a house.
“Keep your feet firmly on the ground,” he said and told them they were the experts in the case and they should reach their decision after considering evidence which had been given in the witness box. They must be fair and objective and must decide the case on the balance of probabilities.
The judge told the jury if you rely on your common sense it will rarely lead you astray.
The “centrepiece” of Mr Bailey’s case is that gardaí set out to frame him for murder and that is the issue the jury have to decide, Mr Justice Hedigan said.
He said the jury was not asked to decide if Mr Bailey committed the “dreadful crime” or if Marie Farrell’s statements were true.
Marie Farrell’s credibility the judge said was central to the case.
If they upheld Mr Bailey’s claims and decided he was entitled to damages, the jury should bear in mind “real money” was involved and “moderation and reasonableness” is “the order of the day”.
“Don’t fear to be just,” he added.
The jury could not give damages for the two arrests of Mr Bailey because those were lawful, the judge said. Nor could they award damages for loss of reputation because such claims must be made in defamation proceedings.
They may consider the extent to which Mr Bailey contributed to his own name being known but should also balance that against “the little village syndrome” as Schull was a village of just 750 people.
The jury could also not award damages relating to the extradition proceedings against Mr Bailey as those were in accordance with Ireland’s obligations under European mutual assistance procedures.
He said Marie Farrell is central to Mr Bailey’s case and is “a most unusual witness”. The claims that Ms Farrell made false statements rested squarely on her evidence.
The jury should note she presented at the outset as a person who admitted she had told lies in the Circuit Court during Mr Bailey’s libel action and had considered telling the truth then “as if that were an option” but had not done so. It was entirely for the jury to consider what weight to give to the evidence.
Ms Farrell now asked the jury to believe she had for eight years conspired to frame an innocent man for murder, he said.
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