Murder case reporter sues for defamation

A British journalist is suing seven newspapers in Ireland for defamation for linking him to an unsolved murder case that he covered as a reporter.

Ian Bailey, according to his lawyer, had been subjected to “trial by the media” for the past seven years following his arrest in Cork in January 1997.

He was held by police for 12 hours and questioned about the death of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found in December 1996 near her holiday home outside the west Cork town of Schull. She had been bludgeoned to death.

Her murder remains unsolved.

Bailey had reported on the crime for British, French and Irish newspapers, Cork Circuit Court was told.

Following his arrest, the court heard, a number of newspapers published articles about him, including interviews with him in which he had acknowledged that he was a suspect in the murder investigation.

But despite his denial of any involvement in the death of du Plantier, seven newspapers had published articles linking him with her death and had published other defamatory material about him, it was claimed. A file on Bailey had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions without him ever being charged.

The papers being sued by Bailey are The Sunday Independent, The Irish Mirror, The Star, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, The Times and The Sunday Times.

Up to 60 witnesses are expected to be called for the defence.

By Des Cryan in Dublin

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