Journalist calls halt to 10-year libel fight

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A long-running libel action arising from one of the most notorious Irish murder cases of recent years came to a dramatic and abrupt end at the High Court in Cork yesterday.

Ian Bailey, a Manchester-born journalist, had been appealing against a court's rejection of his claim that he had been libelled by several newspapers. After a 10-year fight for damages, he called off the caseafter less than a day of cross-examination by counsel for the newspapers.

He had claimed the newspapers had wrongly linked him to the 1996 murder of the French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork.

Although the case ended suddenly after what was described as an agreement between Mr Bailey, 50, and the papers, his solicitor and a newspaper representative later became involved in heated exchanges on radio.

The papers concerned are the Sunday Independent, The Irish Star, The Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. They agreed to put up a little more than £47,000 towards his lawyers' costs but paid no damages, saying they never intended to suggest he had killed Ms Toscan du Plantier. No one has been charged with her death.