Thursday 12 December 2019

Book Bailey claimed he read at 14 'wasn't published until he was 17'

Ian Bailey arriving at court. Photo: Courtpix
Ian Bailey arriving at court. Photo: Courtpix
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A BOOK which Ian Bailey claims he read as a 14-year-old boy and which inspired him to become a journalist was not published until he was 17 years old, the High Court has heard.

In his evidence in chief, Mr Bailey said he read, as a 14-year-old boy, "All the Presidents Men", the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two journalists investigating the Watergate scandal.

Mr Bailey (57) is in the witness box being cross examined for a second day in his wrongful arrest action against the State.

Luan O Braonain SC put it to Mr Bailey that he could not have read the book as a 14-year-old because the book was not published until he was "well into his 17th year".

Mr Bailey accepted this was "probably my mistake", and the point was that when he was around 14 yeas old he went to his local newspaper office and then started writing from school.

Mr Bailey also accepted that he has "experience as a witness" and that as a journalist, he is aware of the importance of giving evidence to convey a story.

Cross examination of Mr Bailey begun last Friday afternoon and the case then adjourned until today.

Mr Bailey told the High Court he was suing gardai and the State to highlight the wrong done to him and to seek compensation.

Luan O Braonain SC, for the State, asked Mr Bailey if he hoped to establish his innocence. Mr Bailey replied: "I am here as part of the compensatory process and to highlight the civil wrong committed against me by your clients."

Mr Bailey was arrested twice on suspicion of the murder of Ms du Plantier, first in February 1997 and again in January 1998, on the day of his birthday.

In his direct evidence, led by Martin Giblin SC, he said he continually tried to tell gardai he had nothing to do with her murder but they didn't want to listen, repeatedly telling him "we know you did it, everyone knows you did it, just admit it".

In the years immediately following the arrests, Mr Bailey said he contemplated suicide as he could "see no way out" and was "overcome by a deep sense of despair and hopelessness".

Mr Bailey also told the Court he suffered sleep disturbance, lost a lot of weight, was branded as a prime suspect and became a "social pariah".

He said he was aware of talk that he had something to do with the murder, but that was a "dreadful, rotten, stinking lie".

Mr Bailey said gardai attempted to crea

te a false narrative - that he killed Ms du Plantier - and this permeated through the media and was embraced by people.

Mr Bailey is suing the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General for damages for alleged wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, conspiracy, assault and intentional infliction of emotional and psychological suffering.

The State denies all claims made by Mr Bailey and will say there was a lawful basis for his identification as a suspect, the High Court heard.

The case continues before Mr Justice John Hedigan and a jury of eight men and four women.

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