Court lets gardai see tape transcripts before Bailey
Four gardai are to receive transcripts of conversations of calls to a garda station before journalist Ian Bailey gets them.
Mr Bailey, who is suing the State for wrongful arrest during the investigation into the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Cork in 1996, wants to inspect the recordings and transcripts of them in preparation for his legal action.
Following a ruling yesterday, he will have to wait until four officers who took calls in Bandon garda station during the investigation see them first.
In nine days' time, the High Court will then decide on his application to inspect the transcripts.
Mr Justice John Hedigan said the four – retired Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald, Garda Michael Coughlan, Garda William Byrne and Superintendent Liam Hogan – were to be allowed to inspect parts of the transcripts that related to them.
The judge said it was unusual but it seemed to follow a logic as the rights of privacy of those mentioned in the transcripts would be protected.
The judge was told the State had notified a number of people whose conversations had turned up in the transcripts, including gardai and various journalists.
Counsel for the State Luan O'Braonain said it was difficult in relation to the journalists as some had identified themselves by their first name only but the State had written to the organisations involved.
Retired Det Garda Fitzgerald was among 10 people who had written to the State asking that, if the communications related to them in any way, they should be given prior notice of that before any permission is given to Mr Bailey to inspect them.
Martin Giblin, for Mr Bailey, said he was "becoming increasingly alarmed" at the proceedings and he was afraid his side would become "mired" in paperwork with the hazard for his client of incurring extra legal costs.
The judge said he had to take in to account the privacy of those whose conversations may be overheard and examined.
He was also very conscious of Mr Bailey's right to bring proceedings but where conflicting rights arose he had to balance that and take it in to account.
He said he expected everybody to "put their shoulders to the wheel" and be in a position to make full submissions when the case comes before the court again in June.