IAN Bailey has been ordered to pay all of the legal costs, estimated at between €2m and €5m, of his failed civil action over the conduct of the garda investigation into the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
A stay on the costs order applies, should Mr Bailey appeal the rejection of his case by a High Court jury last March. Any appeal must be lodged within 28 days of the costs order being finalised, and legal sources consider an appeal is likely.
In his costs ruling, Mr Justice John Hedigan dismissed as ‘unreal’ Mr Bailey’s argument that the Garda Commissioner and State should pay about half of the costs because they only applied on day 60 of the 64 day case to have various claims, including wrongful arrest, not go before the jury on grounds they were brought outside the six-year time limit.
The ‘cental plank’ of Mr Bailey’s case – his claim that gardai conspired to frame him for murder by threatening or coercing Marie Farrell into making false statements – went to the jury and it was incorrect to say most of the case was withdrawn, the judge said.
While it was ‘unfortunate’ the case took so long, the judge said he was satisfied it was necessary, not just in the interest of gardai but the public interest, to have a full ventilation of the grave and very serious allegations made by Mr Bailey, and for gardai to have a full opportunity to answer those.
Mr Bailey had wanted his case heard in open court and there would have been an ‘outcry’ if it was closed down earlier on a ‘technicality’, the judge said. It was also clear gardai came forward to vigorously deny the claims made against them and they were entitled to their day in court.
Meanwhile, Jules Thomas’ action against the State for wrongful arrest has been adjourned for six weeks.
Ms Thomas, the partner of Ian Bailey, took separate proceedings over her arrests during the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996.
When the case was heard in the High Court on Monday, senior counsel Michael Lynn said he was seeking a six-week adjournment. Mr Justice John Hedigan granted the request.
It is expected that the State’s lawyers will claim the case was not lodged within the six-year legally required time limit.