herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bailey's partner not arrested to put pressure on him, says garda

Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas arrive at the High Court in Dublin
Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas arrive at the High Court in Dublin
Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey arrive at the High Court

A RETIRED garda has denied Ian Bailey's partner Jules Thomas was arrested "in bad faith" to put pressure on the journalist after he was first arrested in connection with the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Former Det Inspector Michael Kelleher told the High Court that Ms Thomas was arrested on February 10, 1997, for the crime of murder, the same day Mr Bailey was arrested.

His understanding was, when a person is arrested for murder, it does not mean they themselves have had to have committed murder, they could have aided and abetted it or have been an accessory.

There was a reasonable suspicion Ms Thomas was "an accessory after the fact" and had told "lies" concerning Mr Bailey being at home on the morning of December 23, 1996, the day Ms Toscan du Plantier's body was found, he said.

Ms Thomas was aware Mr Bailey had left her house that morning and the reasonable suspicion concerning her was borne out by her later admission that Mr Bailey did in fact leave the house, he said.

Asked why Mr Bailey leaving the house made a person an accessory after the fact, he said: "Why the lies?" and it "was all part of the building blocks".

Faith

He denied a suggestion by Tom Creed SC, for Mr Bailey, that the only reason she was arrested was to put pressure on Mr Bailey and that was bad faith on the part of gardai. He agreed Ms Thomas had denied any knowledge of the murder aside from what she had heard was in the newspapers.

Mr Kelleher concluded his evidence yesterday, the 39th day of the action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

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

Earlier, Mr Kelleher said he was "disgusted" Mr Bailey had identified him as the garda who allegedly "shoved" his crotch towards Mr Bailey's face during an interview in Bandon garda station on February 10, 1997. He denies the incident took place.

Mr Kelleher said all statements made during the inquiry, not just shopkeeper Marie Farrell's, were considered.

He did not initially have concerns about Ms Farrell's credibility in terms of what she had said about various sightings of a man between December 21 and 23, 1996, but understood she had lied about some matters because she was "in a compromised position".

He denied there was pressure, following Mr Bailey's arrest, to get a statement from Ms Farrell. There was a "desire" for a statement but he was unaware of any pressure.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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