British journalist Ian Bailey has lost his libel action against six of the eight newspapers he had sued over their coverage of a murder in west Cork in December 1966, writes Des Cryan.
Bailey, who is based in Cork, was a suspect in the unsolved murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier, found bludgeoned to death at her holiday home.
- October 20, 2020
- October 1, 2020
- September 4, 2020
He covered the story for a number of newspapers but sued after he claimed press reports had branded him “the murderer”.
Judge Patrick Moran, at Cork Circuit Court, concluded that reports in The Sunday Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Sunday Times, the Daily Star and The Daily Telegraph were justified.
He said he had no hesitation on the basis of the evidence in describing Bailey as a violent man and that the newspapers were justified in describing him in such terms.
But he found in Bailey’s favour against The Sun and the Irish Daily Mirror on one point. This concerned a reported claim that Bailey had been violent towards his first wife.
The judge said the two papers had brought no evidence to support their contention and awarded Bailey E4,000 (£2,700) against each of the two titles. He described Bailey as “an attention-seeker who courted notoriety”.
John Kierans, editor of the Irish Mirror, said he was disappointed at the judge’s decision in the case of his newspaper, but that overall it had been vindicated in its coverage.