Thursday 29 September 2016

Penny drops as Bailey left to count cost of court bid

Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30

The Four Courts in Dublin
The Four Courts in Dublin

It makes no difference whether you are financially ruined by a little or a lot, in the end you are still left with nothing.

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And so there was a certain amount of fatalism about yesterday's High Court hearing to determine who will pay the costs of Ian Bailey's failed civil action against the gardaí and the State for damages.

Costs are usually awarded to the victor and, as that wasn't Mr Bailey, he was merely there to learn how big a bill he would be saddled with and whether or not the State could be landed with a portion of it.

Costs in the long-running case - it ran and ran, notching up an epic 64 days in the Four Courts - are estimated to be an eye-watering €5m. Mr Bailey has already told the authorities he is financially ruined, so the prospect of clawing back €5m looks decidedly unlikely.

It was the longest-running civil case ever to be heard before a jury, but the vast bulk of Mr Bailey's claims were thrown out in the closing stages of the trial, after Mr Justice John Hedigan ruled they had not been made within the six-year time limit required by law. Mr Bailey's claim for conspiracy was allowed to proceed, however the jury took just over two hours to decide against him.

Mr Bailey, by now all too familiar with the environs of the Four Courts, betrayed no hint of nerves as he waited for Mr Justice Hedigan to deliver his judgment on the costs.

Ominous

He wandered in and out of Court Number 7 before taking his seat on the last of a row of benches and waited for proceedings to get under way.

And when they did, the mood music sounded ominous for Mr Bailey.

Mr Justice Hedigan referred to the "unreal" argument put forward by the former journalist that 33-and-a-half days of evidence was unnecessary because the State had made its strike-out application towards the end of the case and not sooner.

The judge said the allegations were so grave they had to have a "full ventilation" in the court and, in any event, Mr Bailey wanted his case to be aired in court.

At this point, Mr Bailey cast his eyes upwards and examined the ceiling for a few moments. The pennies - millions of them - had dropped. Costs were awarded against him, with a stay put on the order pending any appeal.

Mr Bailey declined to comment as he left the court.

Irish Independent

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