A former British soldier yesterday denied a suggestion he was never threatened by gardaí with the “Provos” after he told a journalist that gardaí had provided him with quantities of cannabis to get close to Ian Bailey.
When Paul O’Higgins, for the State, put to Martin Graham in the High Court his claim of such a threat was “a fancy”, Mr Graham said: “You put yourself there, someone mentions Provos, you don’t bloody argue.”
Mr Graham was being cross-examined in the continuing civil action by Ian Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State arising from the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found at Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.
The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey’s claims, including wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.
When State counsel suggested that it was “extraordinary” for Mr Graham to say he left Ireland and remained out of circulation for 18 years as a result of a threat allegedly made in June 1997, he said much of what had happened was extraordinary.
He said he was forced out of Ireland when he was having a relationship with a woman here, who later had his child whom he had never seen, and his life was “ruined”.
He denied a recording of a conversation between him and gardaí of May 1997 indicated he, not the gardaí, was the source of information alleging Mr Bailey had made overtures to the same woman but was rejected.
That and other recordings of conversations with him in May 1997 were made by gardaí. He was aware gardaí knew he had made allegations to the media. He said gardaí had given him drugs to befriend Mr Bailey and were trying to “cover their tracks”.
He gave an interview to The Irish Mirror after he got an anonymous text, which he later established was from a female friend “Pip”. The text said the Irish police needed help finding who murdered “the French girl”, that he was “a witness”, and should help the family put it to rest.
He had not told the Mirror, as was stated in the article, drugs he got from gardaí were always meant for Mr Bailey, he said.
He took the text from Pip seriously because it used the words murder and witness. He was not a witness to any murder but rather “a witness to police corruption”. Asked for Pip’s phone number, Mr Graham said he did not wish to provide it because it was a person’s identity.
Mr Justice John Hedigan told him he must disclose it but could write it down for lawyers and need not read it out in court.
Yesterday, asked whether he had regular phone contact with Mr Bailey, Mr Graham said that only happened after he made Mr Bailey aware the police had “given me drugs to get close to him”.
Mr O’Higgins asked about Mr Graham’s evidence that he was threatened with the “Provos” after being put into a car by two gardaí, whom he did not know, when on his way to meet Garda detectives in Skibbereen on June 7, 1997.
Mr O’Higgins said the detectives knew by then Mr Graham had alleged he was being supplied with cannabis, which they “absolutely” denied, and were “profoundly suspicions Mr Graham was going to “set them up” and might have drugs on him.
For that reason, they arranged that the two other gardaí would arrest him and they had to wait for Skibbereen Garda station to open after lunch, counsel said.
Mr Graham said he had no drugs on him on June 7 when taken to the Garda station and all his bags were already there, having been taken from his accommodation.
Counsel said it was decided “traces of cannabis grass” found on him were so minor no prosecution was warranted.
The case continues.
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