independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Garda Commissioner and State seeks documents from Ian Bailey for their defence of his legal action

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Picture: David Conachy
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Picture: David Conachy

THE Garda Commissioner and the State want a range of documents from Ian Bailey for their defence of his legal action over the handling of the investigation into the murder of French film maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork in 1996.

Mr Bailey's partner Jules Thomas, who has brought a separate case for damages arising from the manner of her arrest in the course of the investigation, has also been asked to provide a further details of her claim, the High Court heard yesterday.

Mr Justice John Hedigan was told the sides are trying to reach agreement concerning the applications for legal disclosure (discovery) of documents and other particulars.  He judge agreed to adjourn both applications to February 17.

Paul Anthony McDermott BL, for the defendants, and Ronan Munro BL, for Mr Bailey and Ms Thomas, said they would engage in the interim with a view to "narrowing the issues" between them.

Mr Justice Hedigan is managing both cases in advance of their trial.

Trial dates have yet to be fixed but Mr Bailey previously said he was anxious to have a hearing after Easter.

Last November, he gave the defendants until March 25 next to examine new electronic material, described as "phone traffic" material, uncovered by gardai who have been trawling through a large amount of documents in preparation for the actions.

The judge was told it would take considerable time, and international assistance, to unscramble the previously unheard "phone traffic" which was described as being in an old, obsolete and fragile electronic format.

In their actions, Mr Bailey, who has always denied any involvement in the murder, and Ms Thomas,made a number of claims, including for alleged wrongful arrest. Both previously obtained orders requiring disclosure of documents by the Garda and State for the actions.

Mr Justice Hedigan last May ruled discovery of documents was justified given what he described as "very disturbing" and "unusual" matters related to the Garda investigation.

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