No recall of ‘dramatic leads’ from statements

A retired Garda detective told the High Court he had no recall of any “dramatic leads” emanating from statements made by a French television producer concerning details of a former lover of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

No recall of ‘dramatic leads’ from statements

James Bernard Hanley accepted he took statements in January 1997 arising from interviews with a French producer and friend of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

Ronan Munro, for Ian Bailey, said details of the statements were “memorable” and “dramatic” and should have been followed up. The statements are not among documents discovered in Mr Bailey’s case and are in other proceedings, he added.

Earlier, Mr Hanley said he was attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation when he joined the West Cork murder investigation in late 1996.

He was involved in interviewing Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas when both were arrested on February 10, 1997, and he also interviewed Mr Bailey in January 1998 and Ms Thomas in September 2000.

Nothing untoward happened during those interviews, he said. He denied gardaí coordinated Ms Thomas’ arrest with Mr Bailey’s so as to put pressure on Mr Bailey and also disagreed it was a “proven Garda method” to arrest a suspect’s partner so as to break a suspect.

Asked if he had ever done that himself, he said there was a case where Paul Ward, while a suspect for the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, made certain admissions after being visited in custody by his girlfriend Vanessa Meehan at her request. He agreed a court later ruled that was an improper visit.

He agreed Ms Meehan’s visit to Mr Ward was supervised by himself and another garda but denied he put psyhchological pressure on Ms Meehan. He agreed Ms Meehan had previously given an alibi for Mr Ward but changed her statement following the interview, saying she was not at the house at the relevant time.

Retired Garda superintendent JP Twomey said his superior had asked for a deferral of enforcement of payment of fines for driving offences against Marie Farrell and members of her family because it was considered Ms Farrell had “gone out on a bit of a limb” in relation to a statement about seeing a man on the road near Schull hours before the body was found.

Retired detective garda Jim Slattery was also involved in the investigation and denied suggestions a memo of a meeting with Ms Farrell on January 28, 1997, was an “invention” and its contents were “Garda speak”. The memo stated Ms Farrell said she now knew the man she saw on the night of December 22/23, 1996 on the road near Schull was Ian Bailey.

Mr Slattery said the memo was written up by Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald on February 7, 1997, based on his and Mr Slattery’s memory of what Ms Farrell said at the January 28 meeting, was signed by himself and Mr Fitzgerald and not signed by Ms Farrell and reflected what she said, although not word-for-word. She had not wanted notes taken of the meeting, he said.

The case resumes on Tuesday.

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