Sunday 21 January 2018

Gardai to unscramble material sought for Ian Bailey's alleged wrongful arrest action

Ian Bailey is suing the State
Ian Bailey is suing the State

Anne O'Loughlin

GARDAI have been given five months to decipher new electronic material which has come to light as officers trawl through documents sought for Ian Bailey's High Court action for alleged wrongful arrest.

The court was told gardai need more time to unscramble the previously unheard "phone traffic" now unearthed as thousands of documents are shown to the Bailey side as part of the run up to his legal action against the gardai and the State.

Mr Justice John Hedigan was told the new material in an old, obsolete and fragile electronic format was proving difficult to unscramble and garda experts had sought help internationally.

Mr Bailey, whose extradition to France in connection with the 1996 murder in West Cork of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case was refused by the Supreme Court, previously obtained an order requiring the State to disclose documents for his action seeking damages over alleged wrongful arrest and personal injuries.

Mr Bailey's partner Jules Thomas has also bought an action against gardai.

They claim they were wrongfully arrested during the garda investigation into the murder.

Last May, Mr Justice Hedigan ruled legal disclosure (discovery) of documents for Mr Bailey's case was justified given what the judge described as "very disturbing" and "unusual" matters related to the investigation.

The judge was told by Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State, that fresh and unexpected material in electronic format had been unearthed in the lengthy discovery of documents for the Bailey side.

Counsel said the garda side required an extension of time due to the nature of the technology involved.

Ian Bailey was in court today for the brief application.

Lawyers for Mr Bailey complained the gardai seemed to have a lot of time  to devote to activities in France rather than carrying out the orders of the court.

Mr Bailey is anxious to proceed and they asked that a date  be set aside in the Easter law term of next year for the case to be heard.

Mr Justice Hedigan said the court would grant an extension of time but said discovery must be made by gardai to the Bailey side by March 25 next.

He advised both parties they can apply to the President of the High Court to have a date set down for the trial of the action next year.

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