herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Gardai deny using Provos to frighten Bailey case witness

TWO gardai were not asked to "put the frighteners" on a witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder investigation, the High Court has heard.

Michael J McCarthy, now retired, denied he and another detective were asked to put the frighteners on Martin Graham in June 1997 after gardai lost trust in Graham as an informant.

Mr McCarthy denied Mr Graham's claims that he was threatened with the "Provos" during his June 1997 detention by Gda McCarthy and Det Garda Bart O'Leary.

Mr McCarthy gave evidence yesterday in the action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.

provos

The defendants deny all Mr Bailey's claims. Mr McCarthy said a colleague of his had been blown up by the Provos and it "pains me to even use the word".

He agreed the word Provos would also resonate with Mr Graham as he previously served with the British Army in Northern Ireland.

Mr McCarthy said he and Garda O'Leary went to meet Detectives Jim Fitzgerald and Liam Leahy near Skibbereen on June 7, 1997, after being asked by them to detain Mr Graham for a drug search.

He said Mr Graham later got out of the two detectives' unmarked car about two miles outside Skibbereen and agreed to accompany him and Garda O'Leary in their unmarked car to Skibbereen Garda Station.

They searched Mr Graham and found nothing except a box with about 20 "reefers", about which Mr Graham was cautioned before he left the station at 2.50pm, he said.

information

Mr McCarthy said he had never heard of Mr Graham before this and did not know of his involvement in providing information to gardai.

He was unaware of a claim that Mr Graham taped conversations with gardai which, Mr Graham alleged, showed he had been given cannabis by gardai.

Mr McCarthy said he had wondered why Dets Fitzgerald and Leahy had not themselves searched Mr Graham when he was in their car earlier.

Mr McCarthy also said he and another garda arrested Ian Bailey on August 2, 1997, for suspected drink- driving.

He photocopied a piece of paper found among Mr Bailey's property which contained something "like a poem" in verse form, beginning something like "Liam says to Jim" with a reference to "Ian" at the end and gave the photocopy to Det Sergeant Maurice Walsh.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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