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Gardai wanted to get minister to influence DPP, says Ian Bailey

SENIOR gardai allegedly told a State solicitor they knew he was friendly with then Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue, and suggested he use that influence to pursue a prosecution against Ian Bailey for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a court heard.

This was despite the DPP saying there was not enough evidence to prosecute Mr Bailey for the French film-maker's murder.

Journalist Ian Bailey (57) said this information emerged during his Supreme Court fight against extradition to France.

Mr Bailey claimed that during a meeting with senior gardai in 1998, it was pointed out to Malachy Boohig, a State solicitor for Cork, that he knew then Minister O'Donoghue.

The suggestion, said Mr Bailey, was that he use his influence with Minister O'Donoghue to persuade the DPP, Eamonn Barnes, to bring a prosecution.

Mr Bailey said Mr Boohig was so "disturbed" by this that he communicated it with his boss, Mr Barnes.

The State denies this claim and all others made by Mr Bailey, and will say there was a lawful basis for his identification as a suspect, the High Court heard.

Mr Martin Giblin SC, for Mr Bailey, said both Mr Barnes and Mr Boohig will be giving evidence.

Chilling

Earlier, Mr Bailey told the High Court that attempts to have him extradited to France had a "chilling effect" on him.

On foot of an European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in 2010, Mr Bailey said he was taken to a cell in Mountjoy Prison which "you wouldn't put a dog in, never mind a human".

Mr Bailey said there was an open sewer in the cell and he was unable to eat a sandwich given to him due to the "stink of sh*t and urine".

Mr Bailey said his arrest on foot of the EAW took place two weeks before he was due to sit his final exams for his law degree.

"I can't help but feel this was a deliberate act to discombobulate me," he said.

He also said he feels "like a prisoner in Ireland" because he cannot travel due to the EAW.

Mr Bailey became visibly upset when he said he had been unable to travel to England to see his ill mother or for her funeral, saying this was the "cruellest abuse" and he has still to mourn properly for her.

Asked why he had taken this case, Mr Bailey said he wanted to clear his name and prove once and for all he had nothing to do with the murder of Ms du Plantier.

Mr Bailey said he lost friends, can't trust people, felt helpless and has had recurrent dreams of being hunted like an animal.

Mr Bailey also said he instructed his solicitor not to instigate legal proceedings against Marie Farrell after she recanted her original statements to gardai.

"I fully believe I'm a victim but she was also a victim. She was put in a difficult situation not of her own making," he said.

Mr Bailey also revealed he chose not to pursue the Du Plantier family for costs after their failed civil action against him "because they are victims as well".

Mr Bailey is suing the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General for damages for alleged wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, assault and intentional infliction of emotional and psychological suffering.

Mr Luan O Braonain SC has started to cross examine Mr Bailey.

The case continues on Tuesday before Mr Justice John Hedigan.

hnews@herald.ie


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