Sunday 22 October 2017

Ex-garda denies any prejudice against Bailey

Retired Detective Garda Jim Fitzgerald leaving the High Court in Dublin after giving evidence in the Ian Bailey hearing
Retired Detective Garda Jim Fitzgerald leaving the High Court in Dublin after giving evidence in the Ian Bailey hearing

Tim Healy

A retired detective garda has denied a suggestion he was so convinced Ian Bailey had murdered Sophie Toscan du Plantier, that he was "scratching around" for any evidence against him when there was none.

Jim Fitzgerald denied in the High Court he was prejudiced or "at the forefront" of efforts by gardai to ensure Mr Bailey was charged with the murder.

Tom Creed, counsel for Mr Bailey, put to Mr Fitzgerald he was convinced "from your prejudiced position" Mr Bailey was guilty of the murder, and that tape recordings were full of his "unguarded remarks" about this "b****x" Bailey.

Mr Fitzgerald said he was investigating a "very serious" murder, did not know Mr Bailey at the time of his first arrest, and it was wrong to suggest he was convinced of his guilt.

Gardai interviewed another man in France after Mr Fitzgerald nominated that man as a suspect - after being told of an acrimonious relationship between that man and the deceased, he said.

Asked would it be "inconceivable" gardai might have got it "spectacularly wrong", Mr Fitzgerald said there was a reasonable suspicion of Mr Bailey, several grounds for arresting him and gardai would have been negligent if they had not done so.

He rejected a suggestion that witness Martin Graham, who had approached gardai in February 1997 concerning Mr Bailey, had "played" gardai "from the start".

Terrified

He denied another key witness, Marie Farrell, was so terrified of her husband finding out who she was with hours before the body of Ms Toscan du Plantier was found, that she "turned" a man who she said she saw on the road near Schull at that time into Ian Bailey.

The cross-examination of Mr Fitzgerald concluded yesterday, on the 51st day of the civil action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and the State.

The action is over the investigation into the murder of Ms du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on the morning of December 23, 1996. The defendants deny all Mr Bailey's claims, including wrongful arrest and conspiracy.

The case continues next Tuesday at the High Court.

Irish Independent

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