Wednesday 24 January 2018

Garda denies shopkeeper Marie Farrell was asked to name Ian Bailey as man she saw hours before Sophie Toscan du Plantier's body was found

A GARDA has denied shopkeeper Marie Farrell was asked to name Ian Bailey as the man she saw on the road near Schull hours before body of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found.

Retired Det Garda Jim Slattery also denied in the High Court Ms Farrell's claims she was told gardai needed a statement. 

He also denied she was asked to sign blank pages when she came to Ballydehob Garda station on February 14, 1997, four days after Mr Bailey was released  from his first arrest on suspicion of murder without charge.

Asked about Ms Farrell's evidence that she was told all gardai needed was a two line statement to say she had seen Mr Bailey, that there would be no court case, and there was nothing to worry about, he said that never happened.

He agreed it was unusual no notes were made of an earlier meeting on January 28, 1997, between Ms Farrell and gardai at Garda Kevin Kelleher's house.

She asked that no notes be taken and she had driven from the house, followed by a Garda car, to the location near Schull where she said she saw a man on the night of December 22/23, 1996, to show gardai that location, he said.

He and Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald had on February 7, 1997, prepared a memo of that meeting from memory following a request from the investigation incident room for such a memo.

That memo stated Ms Farrell had said she now knew the man she saw on the road near Schull was Ian Bailey.

He said no inducements were offered to her at the January 28 meeting and he had no recollection of Det Garda Fitzgerald referring to a summons concerning her husband.

Mr Slattery also denied he "rounded up" to five feet ten the height of a man whom Ms Farrell said she saw on December 21 and 22 in and near Schull.

He is giving evidence in the continuing action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23,1996.

The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey's claims, including wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.

Retired Sergeant Frank Looney told the court he filled in a questionnaire based on conversations with Ms Farrell on January 17, 1997, which included references to her seeing a man outside her shop on the afternoon of December 21, 1996, around the same time Ms du Plantier was in the shop.

Ms Farrell also said she saw the same man the following morning on the road near Schull and had seen him again that very day, January 17, 1997.

Mr Looney said he then went with her to stand outside another shop in Schull and when a man came out, Ms Farrell said "That's him".

Another Garda identified the man coming out of the shop as Ian Bailey, he said.

Retired Garda Michael McCarthy said he identified to Sgt Looney on January 17, 1997, a man coming out of a shop in Schull as Ian Bailey.

Garda Martin Malone, now retired but stationed in Schull in 1996/1997, said he had not noticed scratches on Mr Bailey's face and hands when he saw him at the murder scene about 2.20pm on December 23, 1996.

Earlier, Amanda Reid, known as Irune Reid, said she contacted gardai after her teenage son Malachi told her on February 5, 1997, he had not told the gardai everything about getting a lift with Mr Bailey the previous evening. She considered what Malachi then told her was so serious she contacted the gardai.

The jury was previously told Malachi, aged 14 in 1997, made a statement saying Mr Bailey was drunk when he gave him a lift and told him: "I went up there with a rock one night and bashed her fucking brains in" and also said he did it to get a story for the newspapers.

Mr Bailey has denied he was drunk when he gave the boy a lift and said what he had told the boy was that "they are saying" that he, Mr Bailey, had done those things.

The case continues.

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