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'Garda threats forced me to flee' - Bailey witness

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Martin Graham leaving court

Martin Graham leaving court

Martin Graham leaving court

a FORMER British soldier denied a suggestion he was never threatened by gardai with the "Provos" after he told a journalist officers provided him with quantities of cannabis for him to get close to journalist Ian Bailey.

In the ongoing hearing of Mr Bailey's action alleging wrongful arrest, Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State, put to Martin Graham his claim of such a threat was "a fancy".

Mr Graham replied: "You put yourself there, someone mentions Provos, you don't bloody argue".

When counsel suggested it was "extraordinary" for Mr Graham to say he left Ireland and remained out of circulation for 18 years as a result of a threat allegedly made in June 1997, he said much of what had happened was extraordinary.

Becoming upset, he said he was forced out of Ireland when he was having a relationship with a woman here who later had his child whom he had never seen and his life was "ruined".

Mr Graham denied a recording of a conversation between him and gardai of May 1997 indicated that he, not the gardai, was the source of information alleging Mr Bailey had made overtures to the same woman but was rejected.

That and other recordings of conversations with him in May 1997, which were made by gardai, were made when he knew the gardai knew he had made allegations to the media they had given him drugs to befriend Mr Bailey and the gardai were trying to "cover their tracks", he said.

The cross-examination of Mr Graham continues today in the civil action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State arising from the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier whose body was found at Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.

evidence

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

Mr Graham said he gave an interview to The Irish Mirror in February 2014 after he got anonymous text, which he later established was from a female friend "Pip". The text said the Irish police needed help finding who murdered "the French girl", that he was "a witness" and should help the family put it to rest.

That prompted him to do the interview, which featured his claims gardai gave him cannabis to get close to Mr Bailey, he said.

He took the text from Pip seriously because it used the words murder and witness. He was not a witness to any murder but rather "a witness to police corruption".

CONTACT

Asked for Pip's number, Mr Graham said he did not wish to provide it. Mr Justice John Hedigan told him he must disclose it but could write it down for lawyers.

Asked whether he had regular phone contact with Mr Bailey, Mr Graham said that only happened after he made Mr Bailey aware the police had "given me drugs to get close to him". He might have met Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas up to five times and also had phone conversations.

He denied a suggestion that his telling gardai Mr Bailey told Ms Thomas to "shut up" when she tries to say something indicated he had regular contact with them.

hnews@herald.ie


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