Evidence in Bailey civil case concludes
More than 90 witnesses heard in action against Garda Commissioner and State
Ian Bailey, who has made a series of claims over the conduct of the investigation into the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photograph: Collins Courts
The body of Ms Toscan du Plantier was found near her holiday home at Toomore, Schull, on December 23rd, 1996. Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in her murder.
After hearing from more than 90 witnesses over 59 days, the case has been adjourned to resume on March 24th when the jury will hear closing speeches from both sides, to be followed by a charge from Mr Justice John Hedigan. The judge told the jury, when retiring to consider their verdict at the conclusion of the judge’s charge, they would be given an issue paper containing a number of questions which would each require a Yes or No answer.
Since the case opened on November 4th, the jury heard evidence from 21 witnesses for Mr Bailey, including Mr Bailey, his partner Jules Thomas, former Schull shopkeeper Marie Farrell, former British soldier Martin Graham and two former directors of public prosecutions, Eamonn Barnes and James Hamilton.
The State called about 70 witnesses, including gardaí who were involved in the murder investigation, but some of their statements were agreed between the sides and read to the jury.
In an agreed statement read to the court yesterday, Det Insp Michael Moore, a Garda documents expert, said he examined statements and memos of interview with Ms Farrell made in 1996 and 1997 and concluded there were no suspicious indentations or alterations the author could not explain.
Det Chief Supt Dominic Hayes, attached to an investigation unit in Garda headquarters in 1996 and 1997, said he was involved in two interviews with Mr Bailey during his second arrest on January 27th, 1998, and nothing untoward or unusual happened in either.
Under cross-examination by Tom Creed SC, for Mr Bailey, it was put to him that Ms Thomas had said gardaí had not noted down what she said at all during the interviews and she was very frightened.
Supt Hayes said Ms Thomas did not appear to be frightened, his notes reflected what she said, they were read over to her and she signed them on a number of pages.
Michael McSweeney, who runs a photographic agency in Cork, said Mr Bailey told him on December 23rd, 1996, he had photos of the scene of the murder taken before 11am that day.
After Mr Bailey was arrested on February 10th, 1997, and released without charge, Mr McSweeney said he went to Mr Bailey’s home with other journalists on February 11th.
He was “quite taken aback” when Mr Bailey said to him he, Mr McSweeney, had phoned him (Mr Bailey) about it. It seemed to him Mr Bailey was alleging it was Mr McSweeney who had phoned him on December 23rd, 1996, not vice versa. Mr Bailey appeared “quite excited”, he said.
Under cross-examination, Mr McSweeney said he believed Mr Bailey had “outed himself” as a suspect and had also written articles about the murder.