Monday 23 April 2018

Wrongdoing by state officers was 'breathtaking', say Bailey lawyers

Ian Bailey, centre, arriving at court yesterday with his legal team Frank Buttimer, left, and Jim Duggan
Ian Bailey, centre, arriving at court yesterday with his legal team Frank Buttimer, left, and Jim Duggan
Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Louise Hogan and Ralph Riegel

NEW documents which have thrown Ian Bailey's extradition hearing into turmoil centre on his insistence that attempts were made to frame him for the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The new material discovered by the State -- and brought to the attention of both the Supreme Court and Mr Bailey's legal team -- has forced the postponement of next week's extradition appeal hearing.

Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said the material was "unprecedented by any standards". The former freelance reporter's legal team told the Supreme Court the fresh material hinted at "breathtaking wrongdoing" by state officers.

Mr Bailey has repeatedly claimed that:

•Gardai warned him that he would be found shot dead if he did not confess to the killing. l Attempts were made to induce witnesses to implicate him.

•One witness made a sworn statement -- but only under extreme duress from gardai.

Those complaints were made by Mr Bailey to a special internal garda probe that was ordered after a key witness recanted sworn evidence amid claims of garda duress.

However, that garda probe -- which was never published -- resulted in no further action being taken.

The new material was not outlined before the Supreme Court yesterday -- and Mr Bailey's legal team refused to discuss precisely what it involved.

But the new information provided by the Department of Justice and the DPP on orders of the Attorney General was said to be "extensive".

"The courts have never faced a situation of this nature. The extent of wrongdoing revealed by state officers is breathtaking, even by the lowest standards encountered by courts in past cases," senior counsel Martin Giblin, for Mr Bailey, told the court.

He said that if his legal team had been in possession of the information during the High Court extradition hearings, they would have made much stronger submissions in relation to "garda misbehaviour".

The French authorities have also received the new material.

Last night, Alain Spilliaert, lawyer for Ms du Plantier's parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, expressed concern at the development.

The case was adjourned yesterday and will be mentioned in court again on Monday -- but the full extradition appeal will not proceed as planned before five Supreme Court judges.

Speaking after the brief hearing, Mr Buttimer said the material would "undoubtedly" delay the Supreme Court extradition appeal hearing.


"The DPP, on the advice of the Attorney General, made the material available to us at the last minute," he said.

Mr Bailey (54), a former journalist turned law student, was twice arrested by gardai in 1997 and 1998 in connection with 39-year-old Ms Du Plantier's death but was released without charge on both occasions.

He is now wanted for questioning by an investigating magistrate in France in connection with the murder of the filmmaker, whose body was found near her holiday home in Schull on December 23, 1996.

Last March, the High Court ruled that Mr Bailey should be extradited. He has argued that he should not be sent to Paris for possible trial for an offence which occurred in Ireland but in relation to which the authorities here say he has no case to answer.

Irish Independent

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