Ian Bailey makes formal complaint to gardai about ‘nasty’ online troll abuse
– Yesterday 06:00
Ian Bailey has said he believes someone like killer Graham Dwyer should lose their right to privacy when they’re suspected of a crime.
Mr Bailey, who is accused in France of the murder of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier in Schull, Co Cork 25 years ago, spoke to us in light of a recent European Court ruling that determined that Ireland’s system of retaining and accessing mobile phone metadata breaches EU law.
All of that data was key to the State’s case against Dwyer for the 2012 murder of Elaine O’Hara – and the ruling could now significantly help the convicted murderer in his appeal.
Adding to that, Ireland’s Supreme Court this week dismissed the State’s appeal against the mobile phone data ruling in the killer’s favour.
“I am aware of European law because I studied law and I’m aware of the shall we say legal background and no more than that,” Ian Bailey told us.
“Clearly where criminality is involved I do think people should lose the right to their privacy to some degree but that’s a matter for the guards and the law,” he said.
As previously revealed by this paper, the Department of Justice is now drafting up new legislation that it hopes will allow gardai to still be able to retain phone metadata in cases where criminality is suspected.
And asked if he would have any concern about gardai potentially accessing his phone metadata, if he still under investigation in connection with Ms Toscan Du Plantier’s death, Mr Bailey added: “No, I wouldn’t be concerned about that and I wouldn’t know if I’m still under investigation. I mean, am I? I don’t know.
“Presumably the findings of the O’Driscoll review will indicate whether I still am. If I still am, I’ll respond appropriately.
“(But) I think that’s got to be acceptable in a reasonable, democratic society (accessing someone’s phone data if they are suspected of a crime).
“I’m talking now as a master of law with three degrees in law,” he said.
Gardai are currently engaged in a cold case review of the murder.
Mr Bailey vehemently denies any involvement in the December 1996 death of the well-known French producer, whose killing became the focus of two major documentaries last year.
But now the former journalist and poet says he has become the victim of a relentless campaign of abuse and threats online – and he has been forced to make a formal complaint to gardai.
Mr Bailey told this paper that he made the formal complaint to Bantry Garda Station on Thursday.
“I made a formal complaint to Bantry.
“When I went onto social media, almost immediately I became aware of abusive tweets from a number of people who were quite clearly engaged in what is known in the popular culture as trolling.
“I expected that to happen, but what I didn’t expect to happen was the intensity of the nastiness, and anybody who was in any way in my favour or supporting me got horribly abused by these trolls.
“There are four or five of them. I made a formal complaint now about three named trolls,” he said.
Bailey, who was convicted in France of Ms Toscan Du Plantier’s murder in absentia, says he hopes gardai will be able to prosecute the individuals abusing him online.
“The thing is this, and I’m a lawyer, is there an act which prohibits the use of shall we say digital media, which is what Twitter is, to actually break a law. It’s a bit of a grey area.
“It probably does break a law but which one it is we don’t know yet,” he said.
Gardai did not return a comment about the investigation before this article went to print.
Speaking to this paper on the 25th anniversary of her death last December,
Sophie’s family told how they have been “suffering” for over two decades.
Her uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau said: “For this kind of thing, an anniversary, we think in terms of deep, deep sadness, suffering. We have been suffering for 25 years.
“We are still waiting for the definite conclusion and we are still fighting for justice.”
Journalist and poet Ian Bailey, who is the self-admitted suspect in the mother-of-one’s murder, has continued to deny any involvement.