Wednesday 25 April 2018

Senior garda 'wasn't told witness lied in Bailey case'

Ian Bailey arriving at the High Court. Photo: Courtpix
Ian Bailey arriving at the High Court. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

A senior garda overseeing the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder investigation said he was not made aware by other officers a "very important" witness had "lied through her teeth".

Had he known that, it may have given him "cause to pause" about certain statements of shopkeeper Marie Farrell, retired Assistant Commissioner Noel Smith told the High Court.

Mr Smith, a Chief Superintendent in 1997, said he was not told Ms Farrell had lied to gardai about the identity of her male companion whom she said she was with in a car on the night of December 22/23, 1996, when she alleged she saw another man near Schull just hours before Ms du Plantier's body was discovered.

He agreed the identity of the companion was "very important" and also agreed, had he known Ms Farrell had lied about it, it would have given him "cause to pause".

He agreed Ms Farrell was a very important witness but did not consider there was anything "sinister" in him not being told by other gardai she lied about her companion's identity. In general, he was kept informed of matters, this might have been an "oversight" and there was no "pattern" of not telling him important things.

He was "mildly surprised" he had not been told about the lie by Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald, who was his "conduit" to the investigation team.

He was giving evidence yesterday 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 at Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.

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

Also yesterday, Sgt Des Prendergast denied gardai took clothing without authorisation from Mr Bailey during his detention six weeks after the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier solely to put "psychological pressure" on him.

Denied

Sgt Prendergast denied a suggestion by Tom Creed SC, for Mr Bailey, he was "hand-picked" to be member in charge of Bandon garda station during both arrests of Mr Bailey in February 1997 and January 1998 because he would "not demur from anything", including alleged unauthorised taking by another garda of clothing from Mr Bailey for forensic testing.

He denied there could be no forensic reason for taking from Mr Bailey clothes he was wearing in detention when Ms du Plantier's body was found six weeks earlier.

There were briars at the murder scene and some clothing could have got caught in them and the intention was to see if this clothing was damaged, he said.

In earlier evidence, retired Assistant Commissioner Smith said he had not known in 1997 about the recording of phone calls to and from Bandon Garda Station.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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