Bailey’s lawyer calls for an end to Garda co-operation with France over murder

Lawyer for victim Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s parents says Garda taping controversy would not affect French investigation into the case

Ian Bailey: his lawyer Frank Buttimer has called on the Minister for Justice to end co-operation between the Garda  and a French inquiry into the murder. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ian Bailey: his lawyer Frank Buttimer has called on the Minister for Justice to end co-operation between the Garda and a French inquiry into the murder. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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A lawyer acting for

Ian Bailey has called on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter to end co-operation between An Garda Síochána and a French inquiry into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Frank Buttimer said he had written to Minister Shatter in 2012, following revelations in a DPP document during Mr Bailey’s Supreme Court appeal against extradition, seeking an end to Garda assistance to the French police investigation.

“Minister Shatter is in charge of the department which is obliged to provide the assistance and he should now hold an inquiry into why this co-operation is being provided, because there is no evidence other than which we allege was fraudulently and improperly obtained here.

“If that’s the state of the so-called investigation on the French side . . . why are we continuing to provide this? There are serious question marks over the manner in which the so-called evidence was gathered here in the first place by the gardaí.”


Transcript
But lawyer Alain Spilliaert, acting for Ms Toscan du Plantier’s parents Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, said he did not believe the controversy around secret taping by gardaí of some witnesses would affect the French investigation.

Mr Spilliaert instanced the case of Englishman Martin Graham, who alleges he was offered drugs, clothing and money by gardaí in February and March 1997 to befriend Mr Bailey and obtain evidence gardaí could use against him.

Yesterday, The Sunday Times carried a transcript of a recorded conversation between Mr Graham and two detectives as they travelled from Skibbereen to Toureen in west Cork in which gardaí offered Mr Graham cigarettes, cash and allegedly drugs to spy on Mr Bailey.

“Tell me, Martin, you’re probably looking for something big monetary-wise for making a statement, would you?” said one of the officers in the transcript.


Dubious
But Mr Spilliaert said Mr Graham’s statements and allegations had never formed part of the French inquiry and would have no impact on the French investigation.

“We do not know whether or not Mr Graham was offered drugs by police as he has alleged. We know that gardaí were dubious about his reliability and excluded him from their initial file sent to the DPP so he never formed part of the French case,” he said

Mr Spilliaert said Mr Graham’s statements were not sought by Judge Patrick Gachon in his international rogatory commission to allow French investigators to come to Ireland in October 2011 to interview up to 30 witnesses. Mr Spilliaert spoke of “other important witnesses who have confirmed the truth of statements they made to gardaí when interviewed by the French team”.

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