Bailey’s partner: I was arrested but never quizzed about murder

Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas arriving at the High Court in Dublin yesterday.

Ian Bailey’s partner, Jules Thomas, has begun giving evidence to the High Court on the 11th day of the journalist’s action against the State.

Ms Thomas confirmed that she was also arrested in February 1997 for murder under common law, but told the court that no questions whatsoever were put to her “as to how you did this murder” while she was under arrest.

Ms Thomas is also taking a case against the State for wrongful arrest, which is due to be heard after Mr Bailey’s case.

Ms Thomas began her evidence by outlining her education and career as an artist and said she moved to Ireland in the early 1970s.

She will continue her evidence when the case resumes on Tuesday.

Earlier, Mr Bailey told State Counsel Luán Ó Braonáin SC he is “deeply unhappy” at the revelation of his personal thoughts and reflections in public and regards that as an “absolute intrusion” on his privacy.

Counsel said Mr Bailey was being asked about his writings because Mr Bailey had given an impression, prior to his arrest in 1997, of a serious track record in journalism and a pattern of life involving joie de vivre.

Mr Bailey claimed that what he had said was that the events complained of took away any element of joie de vivre from his life and his experience at the hands of the defendants was nothing like he ever experienced previously in his life.

The journalist said a lot of his notes were “just ramblings” and explorations of matters. He agreed he had written in 1994 that he had “sacrificed my life to debauchery” but said that was an “overstatement” as he “clearly had not”. He had also written in 1991, during a visit to Dublin, about “feeling an outsider”, angry and depressed.

Asked about a reference to a “wet-day J”, he said he had smoked marijuana but that was not uncommon in west Cork. To laughter in court, he said it was “very common as members of the legal profession travel down”. Asked whether he had smoked up to six joints a day, he said they had been “very, very small” and he had not smoked them in years.

Another entry said he ate some hash and seemed to have “enhanced powers of visualisation”. He said: “Writers have done this for centuries.”

Another entry stated: “Why should someone of my undoubted intelligence behave in such a foolish and self-destructive fashion? The core of me wants to shine and not to be seen as a foolish bowsie.” Mr Bailey said that was critical self-analysis and indicated a determination on his part to improve.

When asked in court about another entry about thoughts he had had while gardening, Mr Bailey said what he was talking about in that entry was gardening and likening it “a girl child coming into maidenhood and her body filling with the fruits of nature”.

‘Black humour’ remarks were not an admission

Journalist Ian Bailey has said that alleged informal comments by him relating to the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996 were examples of “my dry and black humour” and not intended as admissions.

Mr Bailey said he had been “unwisely trying to make light of the situation”.

“I have a very dry sense of humour. They were not actually admissions, they were examples of my dry and black humour,” he told his counsel, Martin Giblin SC.

When he spoke to the media after his first arrest on February 10, 1997, he did so “to clear his name” which had “gone out there”. He had not put his name out there and said “the whole proposition he had anything to do with the killing was so absolutely preposterous that I chose to deal with it in this way”.

Events since the death of the French film-maker in December 1996 clearly impacted hugely on both himself and his partner, Jules Thomas, said Mr Bailey. It was “perverse” to suggest he had “thrived” on what had happened, as no-one could have enjoyed this “long, ongoing nightmare”. His life before 1996 was “good”, he said. It involved a lot more music and socialising and gardening, including growing prize-winning onions, and he had recommenced his career as a journalist.

He had had a drink problem but dealt with that and attended 120 AA meetings over 90 days from September 2001 after he and Ms Thomas had separated. They were reunited after he addressed the drink issue.

“I realise I was using alcohol to try and block out the awful reality, but as we all know that doesn’t work,” said Mr Bailey.

He agreed he kept notes and diaries during the 1990s and said this was to note his thoughts and events and for creative purposes. He used them to indulge in a lot of self-analysis and various negative entries were a part of that, he said.

When Mr Giblin observed that many writers, including James Joyce, kept diaries, some now in museums, Mr Bailey said: “I don’t think any of mine will finish up in museum.”

A lot of his writings should not be taken literally, he said. A reference in 1989 to “self-loathing” was part of his critical analysis aimed at trying to progress.

Asked about a reference to “foolish bowsie” in his diary, he said he thought bowsie featured in Brendan Behan’s song ‘The Auld Triangle’, and that entry indicated that he was trying not to be that.

Another reference to an incident outside a bar on New Year’s Eve 1993 in Schull, West Cork, related to a man who was “being a bit of a nuisance”. “I didn’t land a blow on him, I told him to go away and he did,” said Mr Bailey.

He agreed the DPP had decided there should be no prosecution of him. Mr Justice John Hedigan told the jury the DPP had decided not to prosecute “and we do not know why”.

The practice in the past was for the DPP not to give reasons for a decision not to prosecute but the position now is reasons may be disclosed in some situations, the court heard.

Asked about Garda interviews, Mr Bailey said garda notes of interviews during his first arrest on February 10, 1997, did not reflect “the menacing threat aspect” or the “repetitive mantra” that “you did it”. The atmosphere during that arrest was “absolutely oppressive and terrible” but the second arrest, “while still in the same vein” was “not as bad”.

Mr Bailey’s re-examination ended yesterday, closing almost 10 days in the witness box, most in cross-examination.

Mr Bailey has sued the Garda Commissioner and State who deny claims of alleged wrongful arrest and conspiracy arising from the conduct of the Garda investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.


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