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Ian Bailey: I didn't tell photographers I took shots of du Plantier murder scene before gardai got there

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Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey

Collins

Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey has denied he told media photographers he took photos of the scene of the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork earlier than the time when he claims he first learned of the murder.

Mr Bailey was told that one photographer had made a statement to gardai that Mr Bailey had told him of taking photos at the scene at

11am on December 23rd 1996.

A statement from another journalist concerning a conversation he had with Mr Bailey suggested Mr Bailey had visited the murder scene before

the area being preserved by gardai was extended at noon that day, Luán O Braonáin SC, for the State, said.

In circumstances where Mr Bailey told gardai he only learned of the murder at 1.40pm that day, was it not reasonable, based on those

statements and statement from other persons,  for gardai to arrest him a second time in January 1998,  Mr O Braonáin SC asked.

Mr Bailey said he rejected he had told journalists he had taken photos that morning and reiterated that he had learned of the murder at

1.40pm. He had told a photographer on the afternoon on December 23rd 1996 that he had taken photos "earlier" but had not said 11am, he

said.

He denied it may have appeared to gardai from various matters that he had information concerning the murder that nobody else had. He had no

such information, he said.

He could not understand why a number of people had made certain  statements other than that they may have been "suggestible". One man

who provided statements, Bill Fuller, was a "sometime agent" whose statements should be rejected, he said.

Earlier, he agreed he told broadcaster Pat Kenny on February 14th 1997 it was reasonable for gardai to consider him a suspect for the murder.

In hindsight, and at that particular time, it was reasonable, he said.

Mr Kenny was "a particularly clever interviewer" and it was "probably  unwise" to have agreed to be interviewed by him, Mr Bailey said.

Mr O Braonáin said Mr Kenny had asked Mr Bailey, given there were scratches on Mr Bailey's arms and his history of violence towards his

partner Jules Thomas, was it not reasonable for gardai to suspecr him.

Mr Bailey had agreed with Mr Kenny that it was, counsel said. Mr  Bailey, the jury heard,  had also asked Mr Kenny why was his identity

revealed in the media after he was released following his first arrest on February 10th 1997.

Mr Kenny had said it was "highy unusual and irregular" for the name of a suspect to be published in the media and had added that was up to

the newspoapers involved.

Mr Bailey accepted he had told Mr Kenny the matters outlined but said  he not consider there was any lawful basis for his arrest by gardai

either on February 10th 1997 or January 1998.

He rejected counsel's suggestion there was "ample" basis in February 1997 for a reasonable suspicion sufficient to ground his arrest. He

also denied a suggestion he had enjoyed, and was "thriving" on, being "the centre of attention" at that time.

Mr Bailey said he was working as a professional journalist at the time iof the interview "and obviously I enjoyed that" but he wasn't "thriving".

Asked about an article in the Irish Sun, published on February 11th 1997, which named Mr Bailey as having been arrested in connection with

the murder, he agreed this lead to his giving various media interviews the next day concerning his arrest and questioning. He did so,

"rightly or wrongly", because his home was under siege and he had been named in the media.

He agreed he later sued seven media outlets for libel, lost five of those cases and won two. He had objected to being described as a

"self-confessed prime suspect" when he had never used that "perjorative" description. He agreed he succeeded in two of the cases against the media because the organisations involved alleged he had been involved in violence against his ex wife when there was no

evidence to that effect.

Asked about his second arrest in January 1998, he said he believed that was based on false claims he had intimidated Marie Farrell, a

local shopkeeper in Schull whom the jury has been told will claim she was put under pressure by gardai to make such claims.

He denied he was aware there were other grounds for that arrest, including statements by journalists and others.

Mr Bailey is under continuing cross-examination in his action against the Garda Commissioner and State arising from the investigation into

the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

Her body was found on the morning of December 23rd 1996 near Toormore, Schull.

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

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