Ian Bailey case at a glance: Any admission of guilt in pub denied
Bailey agrees writings included ‘life’s a bummer when you’re unknown and unpublished’
Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas leaving the Four Courts today, Mr Bailey’s seventh day under cross-examination by Luán Ó Braonáin SC, who is acting for the State. Photograph: Collins
The court was read two statements by James McKenna, a resident of Northern Ireland who visited west Cork with his wife in April 1997 – four months after French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed.
In the statement, Mr McKenna said he and his wife went to the Galley Inn in Schull one evening and got involved in a conversation with a couple. (In the witness box, Mr Bailey accepted he and his partner Jules Thomas were the couple referred to.)
Mr McKenna said the man asked him if he had heard about the murder in Schull, to which he said that he had.
“He said ‘that was me’ and smirked,” the statement read. Mr McKenna said the man said this in “a deliberate voice” and looked him “straight in the eye” as he spoke. “I was numb with shock,” he said in his statement. He reported the incident to gardaí. In the witness box, Mr Bailey said he had always denied making any admission.
l Mr Bailey referred to a document he called “the 2001 critique”, which he said he was not allowed to talk about, and said he was in a “David and Goliath situation”. Mr Justice John Hedigan told the jury there were two assessments of the case – one by the Director of Public Prosecutions and one prepared for the European arrest warrant issued by the French authorities against Mr Bailey – that were prejudicial to each side and both had been ruled out of the proceedings “to balance the scales”.
The judge said this should not be talked about as though there was some sort of “dark secret” lurking in the background.
l The court heard that Mr Bailey took libel proceedings against a number of newspapers in 2003. The following year, Marie Farrell gave radio and newspaper interviews in which she alleged that Mr Bailey had intimidated and threatened her. Frank Buttimer, Mr Bailey’s solicitor, wrote to Ms Farrell to say his client completely denied her claims and was seeking a retraction.
Failing that, Mr Buttimer wrote, Mr Bailey would initiate proceedings against her.
Mr Ó Braonáin told the court that Ms Farrell’s solicitor replied to reject the claims and say she would defend any proceedings against her. l In September 2005, Mr Buttimer again wrote to Ms Farrell to say his client was “deeply grateful” to her for her “courage” in telling “the truth”. The letter stated that Mr Bailey did not then or in future intend to take any form of action against her.
l On Tuesday, Mr Bailey had been shown an entry from his diary which read: ‘Back in print. Hip hip hurray,’ which Mr Ó Braonáin said was dated just after Mr Bailey had spent a number of days with a Sunday Independent journalist for an interview.
Mr Bailey said he did not recall writing those words. In court today, Mr Ó Braonáin compared the letters in this entry with a number of other entries in Mr Bailey’s diary and put it to him that there were “striking similarities” in how the letters were written.
Mr Bailey accepted he probably wrote the passage in question. The diary entries referred to included a poem Mr Bailey wrote about a rat in the kitchen, a poem titled “Hip hip hurray”, a shorthand note of the lyrics of Desperado by The Eagles and a reflection containing the words “broken pieces of former self”, which Mr Bailey said referred to how he felt after his first arrest.
l Mr Ó Braonáin said that when the “Back in print. Hip hip hurray” entry was written, Mr Bailey knew an interview with him was about to appear in the Sunday Independent. The entry “exemplified” the way he “enjoyed the attention”, the barrister said. Mr Bailey rejected this.
l The barrister also suggested various other writings of Mr Bailey suggested his life before the murder was unhappy and not full of “joie de vivre”. Life was not always happy but what happened to him turned everything “upside down”.
He agreed his writings included statements “life’s a bummer when you’re unknown and unpublished” and and there was “nothing I have touched in my life I haven’t ruined or hasn’t fallen apart”. He told the court: “However unhappy I might have been before has no bearing on the misery I’ve suffered directly as a result of this false accusation.”