At a Glance: Martin Graham’s evidence on Day 31 of Ian Bailey case

Former British solider says he decided to tell Bailey that gardaí were trying to stitch him up

Day 31 – January 20th

1 Former British soldier Martin Graham said that he changed his view about assisting gardaí to try and get information on Ian Bailey when they gave him cannabis, and he instead went and told Mr Bailey that gardaí were trying to "stitch him up" for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

"I changed my position once gardai actually gave me drugs – it would have been around then (St Patrick's Day) – as soon as the gardaí handed me drugs, I realised at that point, it had gone too far," Mr Graham told the 31st day of Mr Bailey's civil action for damages at the High Court.

2 Mr Graham told the High Court that he contacted a newspaper to tell how gardaí had given him drugs to try and get close to Mr Bailey because he was fearful for his life and wanted some security to prevent anything happening to him.

Mr Graham told state counsel, Paul O’Higgins SC, he made contact with the newspaper in the spring of 1997 because he was fearful that he might be killed because of the information that he had about gardaí giving him drugs.

“If anything happened to me, if I turned up in a gutter somewhere, someone would know what happened – I wanted people to know that the gardaí had acted wrongly – I felt that if they (the gardaí) found out that I had told somebody, I felt my life was at risk,” he said.

3 Mr Graham denied asking the Irish Sunday Mirror for a specific sum for his story about gardaí giving him drugs, but he accepted that he did ask them to pay for his travel costs out of Ireland as he wanted to get out of West Cork because he feared for his life.

“I never asked for any specific amounts- I asked for some assistance to get out there,” said Mr Graham, who went on to say that he feared that if he went to an airport or ferry port he would be picked up by gardaí after they learned that he had gone to a newspaper with his story.

Mr O’Higgins put it to Mr Graham that he could have left Ireland at any time in the same way he had arrived, by literally getting on his bike and cycling to a ferry port to catch a boat back to the UK, but Mr Graham disagreed.

“I had to get out of a country without being detected . . . the gardaí had been alerted that I had informed the newspaper and they would have been informing all the airports, all the ferry ports and if I had shown up, they would have me arrested for any misdemeanour ,” he said.

“At that point, I just wanted to get out of there because I didn’t want any involvement. I did feel at risk, I wanted no involvement in the situation, it was all going wrong,” he said, adding that he couldn’t just walk on to a ferry because he knew “how long the arm of law” was.

4 Martin Graham denied ever giving gardaí information on drug dealing in the Skibbereen area and said a tape recording on which he is heard telling gardaí where they could find "stuff" hidden in a toaster in someone's house meant nothing to him.

Mr Graham told Mr O'Higgins he "never gave gardaí any information" on drug dealers in the Skibbereen area before the court heard a taped phone conversation he had with Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald on May 21st, 1997 in which he appears to be discussing how to get drugs in the area.

“Around here at the moment it is quite easy to get almost anything . . . and in Clon, it’s easier and in Bandon, it’s basic and, as you get closer to Cork, it gets easier,” says Mr Graham on the tape in response to a question by Det Garda Fitzgerald about where people are getting drugs in the area.

Mr Graham said that he didn’t recall the names mentioned to him on the tape and at that stage (May 1997) his relationship with Det Garda Fitzgerald had deteriorated as he knew that Det Garda Fitzgerald knew that he had gone to a newspaper to allege that gardaí had given him drugs.

“At this point, we are both bluffing – he knows that I know and I know that he knows – it was a psychological stand-off,” said Mr Graham, who didn’t deny smoking cannabis and agreed that a reference to him having “a good tick” meant that he had good credit.