Thursday 22 February 2018

Witness in Bailey civil case was 'unfairly disparaged'

Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas outside court yesterday. Photo: Collins
Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas outside court yesterday. Photo: Collins

Tim Healy

A High Court judge "unfairly disparaged" key witness Marie Farrell during Ian Bailey's civil case for damages against the Garda Commissioner and State, the Court of Appeal has been told.

Mr Justice John Hedigan's refusal to discharge the jury after warning Ms Farrell about perjury in front of the jury irreparably damaged Mr Bailey's case, his lawyers submitted.

Ms Farrell was a witness for Mr Bailey.

Mr Bailey also claims the judge's handling of the case meant the jury never got to address a range of matters which he alleges demonstrated a conspiracy to frame him for the 1996 murder in west Cork of French film maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Those alleged acts included leaking his name to the media the night before his first arrest and paying former British soldier Martin Graham cash and drugs to implicate him.

Evidence from former DPPs Eamonn Barnes and James Hamilton, along with evidence of Robert Sheehan, a solicitor in the DPP's office who was critical of the Garda file relating to Mr Bailey, was wrongly curtailed by the trial judge, it is argued.

Mr Sheehan was not permitted to refer to his own contemporaneous notes, the court was told.

These are among 17 grounds advanced in Mr Bailey's appeal over the jury's dismissal in March 2015 of his claim gardaí conspired to frame him for the murder of Ms du Plantier, whose battered body was found near her holiday home near Schull in late December 1996.

Mr Bailey, who has always denied any involvement in the murder, was in court with his partner Jules Thomas yesterday for the opening of the appeal.

Separately, a decision is pending by the High Court on a European Arrest Warrant issued by French authorities aimed at having Mr Bailey extradited to stand trial in France for voluntary homicide.

The appeal continues before the three-judge court.

Irish Independent

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