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Sunday 31 August 2014

GSOC trawling secret tapes for Ian Bailey probe

Philip Ryan

Published 24/05/2014 | 02:30

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Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey

THE Garda Ombudsman is trawling through hundreds of secret recordings from garda stations as part of its investigation into Ian Bailey's arrest in connection with the murder of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier.

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The Irish Independent has also learned Mr Bailey would be willing to appear before an Oireachtas Justice Committee if he was requested to attend.

The Garda Ombudsman has been carrying out a two-year investigation into a complaint lodged by Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested following the murder of the 39-year-old French film producer but was never charged with the horrific killing in 1996.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigation was launched soon after Mr Bailey won a Supreme Court case blocking his extradition to France to face trial.

A civil case taken by Mr Bailey and Ms Thomas against the State exposed the widespread recording of telephone conversations in garda stations.

It is understood GSOC requested copies of all recordings relating to the Toscan Du Plantier investigation from Bandon garda station in Cork when the tapes emerged.

It is believed the number of tapes, dating back to the 1990s, is in the hundreds.

The Irish Independent also understands GSOC is examining whether other garda stations' recordings may be relevant to separate investigations.

When the secret tapes first emerged in March, the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan stepped down.

Mr Callinan ended the practice of recording all incoming and outgoing calls months before he left office.

Mr Bailey's legal team also sought copies of all tapes related to his civil case but has, so far, only received a small number.

The issues will be brought before the courts on Monday when Mr Bailey will seek the remaining recordings.

The foundation of Mr Bailey's complaint to GSOC is based on a file prepared by a former Director of Public Prosecution solicitor on the garda investigation into Ms Toscan Du Plantier's murder. The report is severely critical of gardai and their alleged dealings with witnesses.

Meanwhile, sources close to Mr Bailey suggested he would be prepared to give evidence to an Oireachtas Justice Committee if it was legally possible.

Overtime

Mr Bailey wrote to Justice Committee chairman David Stanton recently, outlining the possible cost of the investigations and courts cases relating to his arrest. His statement suggests the State spent up to €50m over an 18-year period.

He claims gardai were able to "claim almost limitless overtime payments for the best part of 15 years". He added: "Most, if not all of these parties, are now retired on very handsome pensions and are probably beyond the scope of criminal or disciplinary sanctions."

The Justice Committee has welcomed submissions from a wide variety of interest groups and individuals as apart of its review of the Garda Siochana Act.

Mr Bailey did not respond to requests for comment.

Irish Independent

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