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New evidence for Bailey's appeal

Ian Bailey: appealing against extradition

IAN Bailey is entitled to use new evidence in his appeal against extradition to France in connection with the death of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

The High Court ordered Mr Bailey's extradition last March and he appealed to the Supreme Court -- but the appeal was adjourned to allow his lawyers to consider the new material disclosed last November.

Mr Bailey's side argued that the material disclosed a "breath-taking" level of wrongdoing by state officials and, had it been available to them for the High Court hearing, they would have been able to make "a much stronger case" concerning allegations of garda misbehaviour in the murder investigation.

In those circumstances, they sought orders admitting the evidence and a fresh High Court hearing.

Yesterday, the five-judge Supreme Court ruled the new material was admissible as evidence in his appeal. The appeal will now proceed, as scheduled, on Monday.

The material includes a 2001 review critical of the conduct of the murder investigation. It also outlines the reasons why former DPP Eamonn Barnes decided Mr Bailey should not be prosecuted.

Mr Barnes contacted the DPP's office last October to alert officials to the existence of the review, carried out by a solicitor in the DPP's office, after which Attorney General Maire Whelan advised the DPP the material should be disclosed to Mr Bailey's lawyers.

The 44-page review, entitled 'Analysis of the Evidence to Link Ian Bailey to Sophie Toscan du Plantier's Murder', was sent to gardai in 2001. It expressed reservations about the reliability of witness statements.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected arguments on behalf of the State that the material was not admissible. The State had argued the material was not new or relevant but several of the judges noted the chief prosecution solicitor informed Mr Bailey's lawyers in a letter last November that the Attorney General had advised the material was "very significant" and should be disclosed to them.

The Justice Minister had also stated in a letter it was in the "interests of justice" the material be disclosed, the court heard.

In those circumstances, some of the judges remarked they could not see how the State was contending the material should not be admitted.

It seemed "very odd" for the State to object to the court even considering the new material but it seemed counsel had been instructed by the minister to do so, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said.

Robert Barron for the State, said the minister's duty was to make submissions to the court and put forward arguments. There was no clear legal authority concerning the issue of disclosure in extradition proceedings and the appeal was to be primarily decided on points of law, not facts, he said.

Martin Giblin, for Mr Bailey, said the case had now become "unique" in the circumstances in which the material had become available. His side now knew the decision by Mr Barnes not to prosecute Mr Bailey was firmly rooted in his view there was "no evidence whatsoever" against Mr Bailey.

The material also showed the then DPP was firmly of the view that the garda investigation was prejudiced and biased.

Irish Independent