Ian Bailey loses last piece of appeal over failed civil action against the State

Mr Bailey's lawyers will now decide whether to take the appeal to the Supreme Court

Ian Bailey loses last piece of appeal over failed civil action against the State

Ian Bailey arriving at the Four Courts, Dublin in 2015 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Ian Bailey has lost the last piece of his appeal against the dismissal of his civil action against the Gardaí and the State over an alleged conspiracy during the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The Court of Appeal this morning overturned its decision permitting a retrial of part of his High Court action for damages.

Lawyers for Mr Bailey will now have to consider whether to appeal today’s ruling.

Mr Bailey began his legal action in 2007 - claiming there had been a conspiracy against him and accusing Gardaí of attempting to frame him for the 1996 murder of Ms du Plantier in west Cork.

He was unsuccessful - however he appealed the decision on a number of grounds.

All but one of those grounds were dismissed by the Court of Appeal in July last year.

Re-trial

However, the court ordered a re-trial in relation to his claim that Gardaí disclosed confidential information to some newspapers in advance of a libel hearing in 2003.

Mr Bailey claimed officers had leaked information from statements made by a key witness in the investigation, Marie Farrell, ahead of the libel hearings.

In July, the Court of Appeal ruled that High Court Justice John Hedigan was wrong not to allow a jury decide whether the alleged leaks had occurred and, if so, whether they breached Mr Bailey’s constitutional right to privacy.

The State applied to have that ruling overturned arguing that it was based on a simple error.

It claimed Justice Hedigan’s words on the matter did not amount to a “ruling” but were “simply observations or an indication” he had given during an exchange with counsel.

Error

In its ruling today, the Court of Appeal said that it had erred in referring to a “ruling.”

It said there was not sufficient evidence to put before a jury regarding the claim that the media and their lawyers were given evidence ahead of time.

It said that even if the trial judge failed to provide a ruling on whether a jury should have been allowed to decide; it did not prejudice Mr Bailey in the trial.

Noting that it had jurisdiction to examine the error and the consequences it held for the previous ruling, the court reversed its decision to order a re-trial in relation to the claim that Gardaí wrongfully disclosed confidential information to some newspapers ahead of time.

Mr Bailey's lawyers are now considering whether to take the appeal to the Supreme Court.