Thursday 21 September 2017

Ian Bailey case: Marie Farrell told detective: 'You are a pervert', court hears

Court hears of 'very close relationship' between Detective and key witness

Jim Fitzgerald pictured leaving the Four Courts
Jim Fitzgerald pictured leaving the Four Courts
Marie Farrell
Jim Fitzgerald, a retired detective Garda, leaving the High Court

A recorded phone conversation suggested a “very close relationship” existed between a Detective Garda and a key witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder investigation, a High Court jury has been told.

Tom Creed SC, for Ian Bailey, put that suggestion today to Jim Fitzgerald, now retired, after the jury heard a recording of his conversation with Marie Farrell on October 9th 1997.

Marie Farrell, pictured at the Four Courts
Marie Farrell, pictured at the Four Courts

Mr Fitzgerald agreed the conversation touched on personal matters but denied it showed he was “fixing things up” for Ms Farrell.

During the conversation, and immediately after a redacted exchange between them, Ms Farrell said to Mr Fitzgerald: “You are a pervert.” He replies: “I f***ing am not... if I am, I’m talking to another one.”

Mr Creed suggested this was a conversation between two people who have a “very close relationship”.

Mr Fitzgerald said he was down in the Farrells’ house a number of times and said he had had two beers with her husband on December 23rd 1997, the first anniversary of the murder,  when he gave her information about the source of threatening phone calls from a public phone box in a car park. He had also discussed with Ms Farrell matters concerning a babysitter. 

Marie Farrell
Marie Farrell

Ms Farrell had also told him about incidents where she was seriously assaulted by her husband, he said.

He denied the October 9th and other conversations indicated he was “fixing things up” for the Farrells.

He said he had never looked after summons for Ms Farrell and had not acted on her request that he ring a Garda about “hassle” she had with road traffic matters. Ms Farrell had “dropped my name” at Garda checkpoints, he added.

Mr Fitzgerald remains under cross-examination in the continuing action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body wad found near Toormore, Schull, on the morning of December 23rd 1996.

The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey’s claims, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy.

Earlier today, Mr Fitzgerald denied he had introduced Ms Farrell to Fianna Fail Senator Peter Callanan as “part and parcel” of  Mr Fitzgerald’s “looking after” Ms Farrell and her family.  In her evidence to the jury, Ms Farrell alleged Mr Fitzgerald introduced her to the Senator for the purpose of assisting her with housing issues.

Mr Fitzgerald said that did not happen. He said he knew Senator Callanan the Farrells told him they were going to meet Senator Callanan and he denied he had introduced them to the Senator in a hotel.

He also denied a suggestion that it was his idea that Ms Farrell should instruct a solicitor to write to Mr Bailey’s solicitor complaining that Mr Bailey was threatening her.

Counsel also asked about Ms Farrell’s evidence that Mr Fitzgerald said to her that her description of a man she saw in the early hours of December 23rd 1996 did not fit Ian Bailey and needed to be “tidied up” for Garda the file for the DPP. 

Mr Fitzgerald denied he told Ms Farrell that and said she had given different heights for the man she saw, including a height of six feet on one occasion. 

That was “a long way” from Mr Bailey’s height of six feet four, counsel said.

The case continues.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News