Ex-soldier: I met with GSOC but wanted pay

A former British soldier has told the Ian Bailey case at the High Court he agreed to meet the Garda Síochána Ombudmsman Commission (GSOC) in February 2014 but left after it refused to pay him expenses for being off work.

Ex-soldier: I met with GSOC but wanted pay

Martin Graham said he agreed to meet Gsoc after receiving a text on January 10 last year saying Irish police were looking for help finding who murdered “the French girl”.

He said he met representatives of Gsoc in the Park Hotel, Northampton, but left when they refused his request for a day’s expenses for leaving his work as a market stall trader. He said he had said: “Stick it, I’ve a job to go and do.”

He was self-employed and Gsoc had asked for a letter from his employer about what his earnings would be for a day, he said. He did not believe they were “really up” for finding anything out and he walked out, he said.

Paul O’Higgins SC, for the State, said there would be evidence it was indicated to Mr Graham there was no way gardaí could pay for information.

Gardaí would also say Mr Graham had, on April 11, 1997, given Det Gda Jim Fitzgerald a label for a medicine bottle taken from Ian Bailey’s home, counsel said. Mr Graham denied he had given any such label.

The cross-examination of Mr Graham finished yesterday in the civil action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found in West Cork in 1996.

The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey’s claims, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.

Earlier yesterday, Billy McGill, a freelance press photographer, said he took photos of Martin Graham holding a police evidence bag containing “product” after Mr Graham exited from a white Almera car in Skibbereen on May 13, 1997, which had picked him up earlier.

There was no dispute the white car was registered as a Garda car, the court heard.

Mr McGill said he and journalist Ken O’Shea had earlier spoken with Mr Graham outside Skibbereen, having been sent by the Sunday World to check out Mr Graham’s claims he had been “in receipt of hash and money to entrap Ian Bailey in ongoing investigations”.

Mr McGill said Mr Graham was looking for a sum of money and an airline ticket. He had searched Mr Graham thoroughly and Mr O’Shea gave him a recording device before Mr Graham was picked up in the white car.

Mr McGill said he had two cameras, one with a long lens, to take photos. Fifteen minutes later, he took photos of Mr Graham being dropped off by the white car in Skibbereen. He went over to him and shortly afterwards took photos of Mr Graham holding a police evidence bag.

He knew what was in the bag, Mr McGill said. Asked had he handled “hash” before, he said he had and said he smelt and felt this product and “knew exactly what product I had”.

He sent his photos to the Sunday World the following day but neither the story nor photos concerning Mr Graham were published, he said. He had considered it was “a good story”.

The case continues.

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