The freelance journalist, Ian Bailey, has lost his libel action against six of the eight newspapers he claimed defamed him following his arrest in 1997 for questioning about the murder of the Frenchwoman, Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey did win two other actions, against The Sun and the Mirror newspapers, and was awarded a total of €8,000 in damages.

Judge Patrick Moran in the Cork Circuit Civil Court found that the two newspapers had defamed Mr Bailey when they said he had been violent towards his ex-wife. A decision on costs was ajourned until 12 February.

Mr Bailey had acknowledged he was a suspect in the garda investigation into Madame du Plantier's murder. Her badly beaten body was found on a lane-way leading to her holiday home near Schull in west Cork, two days before Christmas 1996.

Following the ruling, a solicitor acting for the Sunday Independent, Paula Mullooly, said the newspaper was delighted to have been vindicated.

However, a journalist with The Sun, Paddy Clancy, who wrote one of the articles against which the judge made a ruling of defamation, said he was disappointed and puzzled by the ruling.

It is understood the Director of Public Prosecutions has requested a transcript of the trial as part of the ongoing garda investigation.