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Whistleblower John Wilson tells High Court Ian Bailey surveillance was 'inappropriate'

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John Wilson, among the thousands at MayDay protest.

John Wilson, among the thousands at MayDay protest.

Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey

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John Wilson, among the thousands at MayDay protest.

FORMER Garda John Wilson has told the High Court the level of surveillance of journalist Ian Bailey was inappropriate.

Mr Wilson said he had carried out a check on the Garda Pulse recording system as a result of becoming concerned about allegations of garda misconduct raised in Supreme Court proceedings in 2011 involving Mr Bailey.

Mr Wilson said the Pulse system operated from 1999 and his check disclosed about 150 entries up to February 2012 concerning Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas.

They included a 2009 entry recording them drinking coffee in a cafe, a 2012 entry recording them shopping in Supervalu and a 2011 entry recording Mr Bailey at a conference at University College Cork where he was studying law.

Other entries recorded him signing on at a garda station concerning extradition proceedings.

This level of surveillance was inappropriate and was reserved for active criminal offenders, Mr Wilson (inset) told Ronan Munro BL, for Mr Bailey.

evidence

Mr Wilson said he made a formal complaint in April 2012 to the Official Recipient for Garda complaints, Oliver Connolly, alleging malpractice concerning the continued surveillance.

He was giving evidence in the ongoing action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Her body was found near Toormore, Scull, on the morning of December 23, 1996.

The defendants deny all the claims, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.

Cross-examined by Luan O Braonain SC, for the State, Mr Wilson said he had not seen a written standard in the garda code or elsewhere setting levels of surveillance, but he believed the level of surveillance in this case was reserved for individuals involved in active criminality. "In the Ireland I live in, it is not satisfactory the system be abused in this manner," he said. It was "totally inappropriate" for police to be "scrutinising citizens without good cause".

Yesterday, evidence from former shopkeeper Marie Farrell concluded. She denied saying journalist Ian Bailey was "in line to get millions" from his legal action against the State and that she was getting her "cut" too.

hnews@herald.ie


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