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Saturday 30 August 2014

Bailey claims State spent up to €50m on Sophie death probe

Shane Phelan

Published 12/06/2014 | 02:30

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Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey

Journalist Ian Bailey has claimed that between €40m and €50m has been spent by the State in the investigation of the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

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In a letter to the Dail's spending watchdog, Mr Bailey, who was for many years the prime suspect in the December 1996 killing, claimed certain gardai were able to claim "almost limitless overtime" in the probe.

Mr Bailey, who is no longer considered a suspect and is suing the State for wrongful arrest, urged the Public Accounts Committee to address the cost to the taxpayer.

In the letter, he also accused a number of named gardai of attempting to frame him.

He said he wanted to draw attention to the "financial implications of an attempt to pervert the course of justice by An Garda Siochana who falsely identified me as a suspect and my partner (Jules Thomas) as an accomplice".

Mr Bailey was twice arrested in connection with the high-profile west Cork murder.

Reviews by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the garda file found there was no evidence to support a murder charge.

"I am reliably informed by sources that as a result of the negligent and malicious identification of me as a suspect, (the State) has incurred a staggering cost and loss to the public purse of between €40m and €50m over the 18-year period it has persisted," he wrote.

"As a result of falsely identifying me as a suspect, many members of An Garda Siochana . . . were able to claim almost limitless overtime payments for the best part of 18 years."

The letter is likely to be considered by the committee at its meeting today. In it, Mr Bailey also claims that when an officer was sent to Bandon garda station to track down the duty rosters for 1997 and subsequent years, they were missing.

He also claimed it was "quite clear from an inspection of discovered materials that there was never really any meaningful investigation of this crime".

The letter comes as the discovery process in Mr Bailey's action against the State continues. The disclosure of the existence of secret tapes of gardai discussing the case was one of a number of controversies involving the force earlier this year.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan resigned just hours before the existence of the tapes was disclosed. Last week Mr Bailey and four of his lawyers were given permission by a judge to inspect recordings of the conversations.

Irish Independent

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