Friday 19 January 2018

State bid to stop Jules Thomas damages action to be heard in October

Jules Thomas
Jules Thomas

Tim Healy

THE State's bid to prevent Jules Thomas, partner of Ian Bailey, going ahead with her action for damages will be heard in October.

Her claim is for damages over her alleged wrongful arrest by gardai investigating the late 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Justice John Hedigan said Thursday that the application by the State can go ahead on October 6 next.

The judge said he will decide on that day long hearing on the legal issue of whether the case by Ms Thomas is statute barred.

Mr Justice Hedigan directed that there be no further requests for disclosure of documents in advance of teh hearing until that issue is decided . He said he would not like any further costs to be incurred until the preliminary issue is determined in October.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State, had asked that all requests for discovery of documents by the Thomas side be stalled until after the determination on the issue of whether the case was statute barred.

Counsel told the court the State had been asked in a letter to discover documents in 11 different categories.

In April, lawyers for the Garda Commissioner and State indicated they intended to apply to have Ms Thomas' claim for wrongful arrest on dates in 1997 and 2000 struck out on grounds it was brought outside the applicable six year legal time limit.

The State had made a similar application in Mr Bailey's case.

That application was made in late March, towards the end of the hearing of Mr Bailey's 64 day action for damages, and was granted by Mr Justice John Hedigan.

Mr Justice Hedigan permitted Mr Bailey's claim that gardai conspired to implicate him in the murder of Ms du Plantier to go to the jury for consideration.  The jury unanimously dismissed that claim.

The judge later directed Mr Bailey must pay the costs of the action, which legal sources estimate could be as high as €5m.

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