Bailey case: Garda denies exposing himself to Marie Farrell

Retired officer Maurice Walsh says no truth to ‘deeply upsetting’ and ‘revolting’ claim

A Garda Det Insp has denied as an "outrageous lie" a claim by Marie Farrell he exposed himself to her in the toilets of Schull golf club sometime in summer 1998 while asking her wasn't it a thrill to be "fitting up" Ian Bailey.

Maurice Walsh, now retired, said there was "no truth whatsoever" to that "revolting" claim by Ms Farrell which was "deeply upsetting" to himself and his family.

The only truth was he and his wife were in the golf club in summer 1998 with another couple, he said. They were celebrating his promotion and the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier was not to the forefront of his mind.

He denied several other claims by Ms Farrell including he went to her bedroom in a Dublin hotel on a later date while she was in the city for court proceedings.


He said he was based in Dublin at that time and Ms Farrell asked him to meet her for a drink as she knew nobody in the city.  He said he made a "misjudgment" and met her in the Hole in the Wall pub before returning her to the Ashling Hotel but he had not gone to her bedroom as alleged.

Mr Walsh was giving evidence in the continuing action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the murder investigation. Ms Toscan du Plantier’s 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.

Tuesday was the 52nd day of the case and, following queries for the jury about how long it will last, Mr Justice John Hedigan said the State has 32 witnesses left and the indications were the evidence might conclude by early April.

In his evidence, Mr Walsh, a detective sergeant in 1996/199, told counsel for the State Luán Ó Braonáin he was unaware of any underhand arangement or of any arrangement between Ms Farrell and Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald concerning the making of statements by Ms Farrell relating to the murder investigation.

Asked about Ms Farrell’s suggestion statements by her were part of s scheme between Mr Fitzgerald and himself to fit up Mr Bailey, he said he was unaware of any such scheme or of any conversations between Ms Farrell and Mr Fitzgerald concerning statements.

He himself took various statements from Ms Farrell during 1997 and 1998 just as she had dictated those, he said. There was no indication these were prepared, he added.

Ms Farrell’s claim that he told her she would not have a peaceful day in Schull if she withdrew statements was “a complete fabrication”. He had also not contacted her about any appeal related to road traffic matters.

He was alarmed when he learned of a suggestion a witness in the investigation, Martin Graham, had been given drugs, cash and clothes by gardaí based in Bandon and reported that matter to his superiors. From denials by two detectives and other inquiries he had conducted, he was satisfied officers had not given Mr Graham drugs, he told Tom Creed, for Mr Bailey.

He said Ms Farrell had in August 1997 identified a poem obtained by another Garda as the same poem Mr Bailey had produced when he came to her shop in June 1997. She also provided documents featuring past addresses of her family in London. Which addresses, she said, had been referred to by Mr Bailey on the same occasion.

Earlier, Det Insp Kevin Gately said he was part of the Nally Garda review team which in 2002 reviewed the Toscan du Plantier investigation.

The review team did not regard Ms Farrell as a credible witness and he met her five times, he said.

Ms Farrell had walked out of a meeting when it was put to her she had made false reports to them concerning the identity of her male companion who was with her when she said she saw Ian Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge near Schull in the early hours of December 23rd, 1996, he said. Making false reports was potentially a criminal offence, he added.

Conflicting accounts

It was also put to Ms Farrell she had “changed her story more than once” and had given different accounts of her movements on December 22nd/23rd, 1996, he said.

The issue of Ms Farrell’s evidence concerning her alleged December 23rd sighting of Mr Bailey was that she was unable to corroborate it in any way.

While the review sought corroboration by trying to get her to identify her male compnaion, she gave different names, had not corroborated it and that weakened her account, he said.

She had during a number of meetings stood over her account of seeing Mr Bailey at Kealfada Bridge and of also seeing him on two other occasions on December 21st and 22nd 1996, he said.

He denied as “nonsense” her evidence that she was threatened her husband would be prosecuted.

He denied a suggestion by Mr Creed that the review accepted much of the evidence gathered by the original investigation and had not looked behind that. He said the review examined all the statements made and had gathered almost 400 extra statements.

The jury also heard the DPP had not directed any prosecution after receiving a file concerning complaints by Ms Farrell she was harassed by Mr Bailey on a number of occasions.

The case continues.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times