Monday 25 September 2017

Ian Bailey looks for garda documents to support 'malice' claims

Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey

Tim Healy

LAWYERS for Ian Bailey want the State to hand over documents which they say support claims of malice against him in the garda investigation into the murder in west Cork of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey's solicitor Frank Buttimer says materials disclosed by the State for Mr Bailey's successful appeal against extradition suggested at least one senior Garda may have tried to put pressure on the DPP to prosecute Mr Bailey.

 

The materials also referred to the Garda Siochana "engendering hysteria" in the local community due to portrayal of Mr Bailey, via leaks to the media and otherwise, "as a ruthless and unrestrained killer", Mr Buttimer said in an affidavit to the High Court.

 

That induced "blind panic" in at least one witness as early as February 1997 and caused concern in the DPP's office a climate would be created in which witnesses "became suggestible", he said.

 

The disclosed material was also probative of Mr Bailey's claim of malice as it was suggested a named garda may have offered "cash, clothes and hash" to a witness to obtain incriminating evidence against Mr Bailey, he added.

 

Following from that disclosed material, Mr Buttimer is seeking additional documents for Mr Bailey's civil action against the Garda Commissioner and State claiming damages for alleged wrongful arrest and personal injuries.

 

He is seeking all correspondence between former DPP Eamonn Barnes (from his retirement); Mr Barnes' successors James Hamilton and Claire Loftus; the Minister for Justice and any Garda concerning Mr Bailey.

 

Mr Buttimer also wants all "unedited and/or unredacted" emails between Mr Barnes and those parties supporting the recommendation in a report from Mr Barnes "that a person be prosecuted in relation to the Garda investigation into Ian Bailey".

 

All documents contradicting or inconsistent with a 45-page analysis by the DPP's office in 2001 [the 2001 analysis] of the Garda investigation, which criticised aspects of it,  are also sought, plus all material relating to the taking of statements from, or contact with, Marie Farrell, who has alleged she was pressurised by gardai into making a statement adverse to Mr Bailey.

 

Mr Buttimer is also seeking any documents showing contacts between gardai and journalists in relation to the investigation into Mr Bailey in relation to the "wrongful death" of Ms du Plantier, plus all documents concerning the arrests in 1997 and 2000 of Mr Bailey's partner, Jules Thomas.

 

Mr Bailey (56), a former journalist and law graduate who last year won his appeal against his extradition to France in connection with the

1996 murder, has always denied any involvement in it. As well as his civil action, he has made a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman.

 

Discovery issues in the civil action were adjourned pending the outcome of the extradition proceedings.

 

They were mentioned yesterday to the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns who, on consent of the sides, adjourned them to May 10.

 

A motion seeking legal disclosure (discovery) in the civil case issued in 2009 but additional documents are being sought arising from material disclosed by the State in November 2011, just days before Mr Bailey's extradition appeal was due for hearing before the Supreme Court.

 

Mr Buttimer also said in an affidavit the disclosed material is "highly relevant" to discovery issues in the civil action.

 

The State defendants dispute that assertion and say the latest discovery application appeared to reflect "a wide-ranging  fishing expedition" and is inappropriate on grounds including the investigation into the murder of Ms Du Plantier is continuing.

 

They also say the earlier 2009 request for discovery is oppressive and enormous. If granted, it would mean Mr Bailey would get access to some 6,300 categories of documents and "a huge amount" of confidential information related to an ongoing criminal investigation, they said.

 

The material disclosed for the extradition appeal included the 2001 analysis of the Garda probe and an email of October 12th 2011 from former DPP Eamonn Barnes to the DPP.

 

In that email, Mr Barnes said there was.."now an apparently real possibility that [Mr Bailey]..may be charged in France and perhaps receive a lengthy prison sentence, presumably on the basis inter alia of "evidence" and conclusions provided by what I regarded at the time as having been a thoroughly flawed and prejudicial investigation culminating in a grossly improper attempt to achieve or even force a prosecutorial decision which accorded with that prejudice."

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