Sophie witness taped on purpose, claims garda
PHONE calls of a key witness in the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier were deliberately tape-recorded, a garda has claimed.
The revelations were reportedly made in a formal statement by a garda based in Bandon garda station in Cork, who said he was asked by a colleague if it would be possible to record phone calls into and out of the station.
Before this, there had been no indication that gardai had been aware or complicit in the practice of secretly recording phone conversations of witnesses.
The garda also claimed to have listened back to a number of the tape-recorded phone conversations after being invited to by other gardai at the station.
He said all the recordings were from calls made and received by a key witness in the murder of the Frenchwoman, who was beaten to death at her home in Schull, west Cork, in December 1996.
The formal statement, made in 1997, also claims sophisticated phone-call recording equipment was attached to one particular phone in the station.
The details of the statement were revealed on the RTE 'This Week' programme yesterday.
The garda does not say where the phone was located in the station or which officers had access to the recordings.
He said the recordings had been collated and stored on what he described as a C90 tape.
However, details of what the garda heard on the recordings have not emerged.
The widespread recording of phone calls at garda stations emerged after the Government announced a Commission of Inquiry into the practice in late March.