Tuesday 16 January 2018

High Court denies Bailey access to garda files

Tim Healy and Ralph Riegel

SELF-confessed murder suspect Ian Bailey suffered a major blow yesterday in his bid to sue the State for wrongful arrest after the High Court refused to order the release of key garda documents.

Mr Bailey (53) is also appealing to the Supreme Court over his extradition to France, where the Paris authorities want him to face trial in relation to the 1996 killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39).

Yesterday, a High Court judge said it would be "most inappropriate" to order the release of garda documents in relation to Mr Bailey's civil case at this time while the extradition issue remained ongoing.

Sophie -- a mother of one -- was found battered to death near her isolated holiday home at Toormore, Schull, in West Cork, on December 23, 1996.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested by gardai, in 1997 and 1998, in relation to the killing but was released without charge on both occasions. No one has ever been charged with her killing.

The Manchester-born former journalist and law graduate has consistently protested his innocence.

Mr Bailey, of The Prairie, Schull, Co Cork, initiated his civil action in 2007 against the Garda Commissioner and the State over his arrest here in February 1997 and January 1998.

Mr Bailey is now claiming damages against the State, including punitive damages, over alleged unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, assault and battery and harassment.

Yesterday, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said he was refusing a legal disclosure application "at this stage" because the garda investigation into the murder was not closed.

He also said other events had intervened, with the Supreme Court yet to decide Mr Bailey's appeal against his extradition.


It would be "most inappropriate" to direct a trawl through the garda investigation when a trial may yet take place in another jurisdiction and Mr Bailey's own position could be prejudiced, the judge said.

If the Supreme Court rules against the extradition of Mr Bailey, his lawyers may renew the discovery application, he added.

His proceedings followed an internal garda review ordered in 2005 by the then Garda Commissioner after Mr Bailey's solicitor complained his client was arrested on foot of a statement made by shopkeeper Marie Farrell, which she later withdrew.

The review was carried out by Assistant Garda Commissioner Ray McAndrew, who recommended a prosecution in his report to the DPP but, in July 2008, the DPP decided there would be no prosecution.

For his action, Mr Bailey sought discovery of several categories of documents, including the McAndrew report, but that was refused by the Master of the High Court.

Irish Independent

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