Court hears tape of ‘cash and drugs’ conversation between witness and garda

Martin Graham discussed poitín, cash, clothes, ‘smokes’ and the moon with detective

Gardaí discussed poitín, cash, clothes, "smokes" and the moon during recorded conversations with a man who claims he was offered "incentives" to befriend journalist Ian Bailey and "soften him up", the High Court heard.

Martin Graham said he first met Mr Bailey in the home of Russell Barrett in Skibbereen in February 1997 after Mr Bailey went there following his release after his first arrest on February 10th 1997.

After gardaí came to the house and asked the occupants for their observations of Mr Bailey, Mr Graham said he later went to the Garda station in Skibbereen as a result of which he met Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald and Det Garda Liam Leahy on a number of occasions.

Mr Graham said a statement signed by him and dated February 25th, 1997 did not precisely reflect what Mr Bailey had said when Mr Bailey was in Russell Barrett’s house. It was a prepared statement made in the back of a car and was not read over to him at the time, he said.


There were references in the statement to Mr Bailey talking about being “possessed by the moon”, having gone up to the house and “killed her” and having blacked out and not being able to remember what he had done. Mr Graham said these reflected Mr Bailey talking about what the police were telling him he had done.

The statement also said Mr Bailey had said: “If this is what happened, then I did”.

It said Mr Barrett had told Mr Bailey to: “Shut up, man, don’t be stupid.”

Mr Bailey had then “clamped up”.

Mr Graham said Mr Bailey was very agitated at the time and kept saying he was concerned his case was being prejudiced by media reports and other matters. Mr Bailey was resolute he was being fitted up, he said. Mr Bailey had also been tearful about his partner, Jules Thomas, and had phoned her and a journalist from Central TV.

Mr Graham was also asked about a second statement signed by him, dated April 19th 1997. It said Mr Bailey had told him: “If gardaí said I was at the scene of the murder, I must have gone up to the house and done the murder.”

Mr Graham said that was not correct and Mr Bailey had not said that to him.

Asked about recorded conversations between himself and gardai on dates in May 1997, which were played in court, Mr Graham said Det Fitzgerald asked him to go to Mr Bailey and, among other matters, try and get him to talk about an alleged encounter where Mr Bailey was allegedly rejected by a young woman.

Mr Graham said he did not know of any such incident himself.

Gardaí were always trying to “lead”him and had told him things Mr Bailey was supposed to have done and that women were scared of him, he said.

A recording of a conversation between Det Fitzgerald and Mr Graham on May 21st, 1997 was played during which the two discussed Mr Bailey and arranged to meet at a shrine the following evening.

During that conversation, Det Fitzgerald said: “We are trying to establish the truth.”

He also referred to a sale in a clothes shop “that Liam got you some stuff there before” and asks: “Are you okay for that stuff?”.

Mr Graham replied: Well, you know the sort of, like the T-shirts I wear, you know..With the collars” and adds: “Maybe a couple.”

In another recording of a conversation between Mr Graham, Det Fitzgerald and Garda Michaal Coughlan, made during a car journey of May 22nd, 1997, there was further discussion about Mr Graham going to meet Mr Bailey.

Det Fitzgerald said it was a case of trying to find “ways and means of establishing the truth”.

There were also references to poitín and Mr Graham said he had been given alcohol including poitin by the gardaí. Dring the conversation, Mr Graham asks: “Have you got some hash?” and Det Fitzgerald replies he has “cash..I have a bit of money here for you and a bit of stuff”.

After a discussion concerning Mr Bailey, Det Fitzgerald told Mr Graham there could be relevations “that could save another life” and that people were scared, “especially women that he has assaulted in the past”.

Det Fitzgerald added: “When things die down, things will revert back to the old ways, drink, joints, the moon and everything.”

Det Fitgerald also asked Mr Graham whether he studies the moon, the witness said he always did and the two men then discuss high and low moons and “energised” moons.

Det Fitzgerald said: “You never know, Martin, the moon brought a tragedy, but it could bring the truth now, couldn’t it, because that’s what we’re gearing for.”

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times