Hearing on costs in Ian Bailey case to proceed next week

Costs linked to action against Garda Commissioner and State could be up to €5 million

A hearing to determine liability for the substantial legal costs of Ian Bailey’s failed action for damages against the Garda Commissioner and State will proceed next week.

The costs hearing was scheduled for May 11th but will now proceed on May 12th as counsel for Mr Bailey was not available on the former date, Mr Justice John Hedigan was told.

The costs hearing is likely to last two hours, the judge heard.

The judge has separately listed, for mention only on May 11th, the separate civil action by Jules Thomas, partner of Mr Bailey. Ms Thomas is claiming damages on grounds incuding she was allegedly wrongfully arrest in February 1997 and September 2000 by gardai investigating the late 1996 murder in west Cork of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The State previously indicated it intends to bring a pre-trial application aimed at halting Ms Thomas’ case on grounds it is statue barred, brought outside the applicable six year legal time limit.

Luán O Braonáin SC, for the State, said on Tuesday they had received no formal written indication from Ms Thomas’ side concerning the statute application but her solicitor, Frank Buttimer, appeared to have indicated to the media in early April the case was proceeding.

Ronan Munro BL, for Ms Thomas, said he was unaware of that and a new senior counsel had just been engaged by his side to deal with the statute point.

Mr Justice Hedigan said it would be best if communications concerning the case were made in court.

The judge listed the statute matter for mention on May 11th and also listed for mention that same day other proceedings in which contempt is alleged against various media entities concerning pre-trial matters in Mr Bailey’s case.

Mr Bailey brought his action over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier whose body was found near Toomore, Schull, on December 23rd 1996. Ms Thomas’ case was parked pending the outcome of Mr Bailey’s action.

The costs of Mr Bailey’s 64 day action, which concluded on March 30th last, are expected to be at least €2 million and could be as high as €5 million.

On the 60th day of Mr Bailey’s case, the State applied under the statute of limitations to have the case wholly or partly struck out. Mr Bailey’s side opposed that application.

On day 62, Mr Justice Hedigan agreed to strike out may of the claims, including Mr Bailey’s claims of wrongful arrest in 1997 and 1998, on grounds those were statute barred.

The judge permitted Mr Bailey’s claim that gardai conspired to implicate him in the murder to go to the jury for consideration. The jury of seven men and four women took just over two hours to reach their unanimous verdict dismissing that claim.

Mr Justice Hedigan said afterwards he was referring a transcript of the evidence of witness Marie Farrell evidence in the case to the DPP for whatever action the Director might “deem appropriate”.