Marie Farrell denies hearing about mark on garda’s stomach

Ian Bailey case hears Farrell claim gardaí told her she could be arrested

Marie Farrell has denied she was present at any coversation where a Detective Garda told her husband he had a mark on his stomach.

Ms Farrell was being cross-examined in journalist Ian Bailey’s civil action about her evidence she saw a growth on Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald’s stomach during an incident where she alleges he stripped naked and asked her for sex.

Paul O’Higgins SC, for the State and Garda Commissioner, said Det Fitzgerald, who denies the stripping incident, will say he did have a mark on his stomach at one stage which had given him trouble. Det Fitzgerald would say his doctor had advised him the mark would clear up itself and it had, but, prior to that, it gave him trouble and would bleed occasionally, counsel said.

The court was told Det Fitzgerald would also say that, once when he was in Ms Farrell’s shop in Schull and she and her husband were present, her husband noticed blood on the garda’s shirt, asked him had he been stabbed and Det Fitzgerald said no, he had a growth which bled.


Ms Farrell said no conversation like that took place in her presence and that was not the source of what she had alleged.

Ms Farrell was on her eighth day in the witness box in the action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State arising from the Garda investigation into the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near her holiday home at Toormore, Schull, on December 23rd, 1996.

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

Ms Farrell denied Mr O’Higgins’s suggestion she was “a considerable actress” who can “fluently and convincingly” portray whatever she wants to unless she is challenged.

She disagreed she both “courted” and “revelled” in publicity after giving evidence to the detriment of Mr Bailey in libel actions brought by him in 2003 against various media organisations.

She said Det Fitzgerald wanted her to do the media interviews to keep up pressure on Mr Bailey, and she was happy at that time to do them for Det Fitzgerald, but regretted them now. She agreed she posed for photos with her children, but denied she was paid €1,500 for one interview. She got €150 and it went to her son’s football club, she said.

A recording of a 2004 interview between Ms Farrell and broadcaster Pat Kenny was played to the jury and Ms Farrell agreed she sounded fluent and comfortable in that. When she referred in that and other interviews to Mr Bailey boasting about his sexual prowess with hundreds of women and to him talking of “flling barrels with sperm” over the years, she said Det Fitzgerald told her to say that and that material was in Mr Bailey’s diaries.

Counsel said Det Fitzgerald would deny he “coached” her for interviews, but Ms Farrell said he had.

She denied it was untrue to say Det Fitzgerald told her in March 2004 that Mr Bailey was due to call to Schull garda station and had told her, as part of keeping pressure on Mr Bailey, it would be a good time to make a complaint later the same day alleging Mr Bailey had harassed her near her home in Schull.

It was “100 per cent true” Det Fitzgerald had said that and she had rung gardaí and made a complaint about Mr Bailey harassing her that day, she said. She had reported Mr Bailey had said “next time he would cross-examine her”, but was later told Mr Bailey had not called to the station as expected and was in his solicitor Frank Buttimer’s office in Cork city that day.

When counsel suggested this was “wholly untrue” and “stupid”, it was very unlikely someone would threaten to “cross-examine” her, and Det Fitzgerald could not have known when Mr Bailey would come to the station, she said: “That is how it happened,as mad as it seems.”

“The whole thing is stupid, looking back in hindsight,” she added. “Do you not think it would have been a lot easier for me to have kept my mouth shut after the libel trial?”

Ms Farrell said she had not wanted to "go to court and tell lies" during the libel trials but was told by three gardaí – Det Supt Dermot Dwyer, Det Garda Fitzgerald and Garda Kevin Kelleher – she had to go to court. She was told, if she did not go, she would be arrested and brought to court and was told all she had to do was "stick to the story", she added.

She denied that gardaí told her to tell the truth and had not told her to “stick to the story”. When counsel said Det Supt Dwyer would say he gave her money for a taxi after the libel hearing and that money was not in any sense related to her giving evidence, she said: “That was what it felt like.”

Earlier, she said she was advised by Det Garda Fitzgerald what to say to gardaí from Dublin when they met her in 2002 to review the murder investigation. Ms Farrell said she was asked was there a Garda advising her and she had said no, her solicitor was. She denied she told the gardai she had a “psyche” named Deborah and said she has never had a psychiatrist.

She also denied a suggestion her evidence that she was with a man named John Reilly in the early hours of December 23rd, 1996 near Schull was “an invention”.

She agreed she named other men previously as the man she was with, including Jan Bartels, with whom she previously had a relationship.

The case continues.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times