A solicitor for Ian Bailey has told the High Court assurances were given, as "a human thing" to Marie Farrell, after she contacted him in 2005 to say she had said untrue things about Mr Bailey, that she would not be sued by Mr Bailey.
rank Buttimer said those assurances were sought by Ms Farrell sometime after she contacted him in 2005 to say she had said untrue things about Mr Bailey.
Mr Bailey was "extremely grateful" Ms Farrell had "volunteered to tell the truth" and he, as Mr Bailey's solicitor, had given her a letter, as "a comfort to her" and "a human thing", assuring her she would not be sued.
Mr Buttimer also agreed he has given many media interviews concerning Mr Bailey's case.
Mr Bailey had been "fundamentally harmed" by the exposure he had had in the media over the years, Mr Buttimer said. What he was doing when he responded to questions and gave interviews was making efforts to redress the balance.
Mr Buttimer said he had not sought to use the media to try and influence the outcome of Nr Bailey's case.
"All I'm doing is a court case of some significance in which the media has been intensely interested since the tragic event." He has been involved in some notable cases but this case was unique in many respects, he added.
Mr Buttimer is being cross-examined in the continuing civil action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Her body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23rd 1996.
The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey's claims, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.
Today, Mr Buttimer said he had a copy of his note of a phone conversation of 2005 with Marie Farrell. He vividly remembered the call, it was "significant" and Ms Farrell said she had concerns about the truth of what she said in the libel trial and to gardai.
The jury has heard Ms Farrell was a shopkeeper in Schull in 1996 who gave evidence against Mr Bailey in his libel actions in 2003 against various media organisations. She has given evidence on behalf of Mr Bailey in his action.
Counsel put to Mr Buttimer that his evidence yesterday he did not have Ms Farrell's statement with him when he met her in 2005 was incorrect.
Mr Buttiner said, having checked his notes overnight, he had had the Farrell statements but had not recalled that yesterday. He did not know where he got the statements but may have got them from Mr Bailey or Ms Farrell or from the files of Mr Bailey's previous solicitor.
He agreed the statements had been used in Mr Bailey's libel actions. He understood, from the libel trial, there was no pretrial discovery of documents.
He agreed statements used in proceedings are often available on the solicitor's file. Mr Buttimer said he was not Mr Bailey's solicitor in 2003 and became his solicitor in 2004. It was possible the Farrell statements may have come from the files of Mr Bailey's then solicitor, the late Con Murphy.
His notes indicated he had statements at the time of his first attendance with Ms Farrell, he said. If he discussed them with Ms Farrell, she would have had the opportunity to see them, he agreed.
He said Ms Farrell came to him in 2005 and told him what she wanted to say. He had three actual meetings with her. They were lengthy meetings and a lot was discussed.
His phone contacts were to arrange meetings and he had not take notes of those calls. He did not operate the practise of some solicitors of charging for each call they make, he told counsel.
He said Ms Farrell made a significant phone call in April 2005 and she indicated she had concerns about the truth of what she had said to gardai and in court proceedings.
He agreed that call involved a situation where someone may be about to indicate they perjured themselves. He was also concerned whether there was something sinister about this as he had been involved in acrimonious correspondence with Ms Farrell previously.
He took a quick note of the call which was brief, he said. he remembered it vividly and had made a statement regarding it to the McAndrew inquiry (the Garda probe into complaints made by Mr Buttimer related to the Garda investigation).
He had three actual meetings with Ms Farrell in 2005 about this matter, he said.
His position was Ms Farrell came to him voluntarily to give him information and he took it from her at her request. He knew it would have to be dealt with at some point and she would need independent legal advice.
When counsel suggested it was questionable not to ensure from the outset that she had independent legal advice, he said he had not asked her what her own legal advice was.
He agreed he would not normally deal with proceedings involving European Arrest Warrants. When Mr Bailey was arrested on foot of an EAW, the State initially sought independent sureties of between €15-20,000 as conditions for bail, he said.
Where a surety is sought that is clearly beyond d the means of a person, that to him amounted to opposition to bail, he said. The fact the State subsequently consented to terms for bail agreed between the sides did not alter his view.
He agreed he had written, on behalf of Mr Bailey, to Ms Farrell in 2004 warning she would be sued if she persisted in making claims Mr Bailey was harassing her. He agreed a solicitor for Ms Farrell had replied, saying she refused to restract her claims and warning she would counter-sue if Mr Bailey issued proceedings agains her.
When Ms Farrell contacted him in 2005, she had at some stage sought assusrances Mr Bailey would not sue her and those were provided, he said.
The case continues.