[From top: Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas in 2012; Martin Graham, an acquaintance of Ian Bailey. Lawyers for Mr Bailey have claimed gardaí gave drugs to Mr Graham in order to secure evidence against Mr Bailey. The claim has been denied by gardaí.]
John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, spoke with Colm Ó Mongáin on RTÉ’s This Week yesterday to discuss the secret recordings of conversations pertaining to Ian Bailey in Bandon Garda Station.
It followed his story in yesterday’s Sunday Times that eight conversations were recorded between May 20, 1997 and June 4, 1997, which suggest that gardaí did give money and drugs to Martin Graham to secure incriminating evidence against Ian Bailey.
Mr Mooney wrote that the recordings at the station “appear to corroborate claims made by Ian Bailey that detectives tried to frame him for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in December 1996”.
John Mooney: “The overall practice of recording conversations at garda stations really isn’t the main issue here. The main problem that Government face is that they have a series of recordings which suggest and appear to corroborate claims by Ian Bailey, who is in the middle of a landmark civil action against the State, that he was being framed for murder which he didn’t commit. And that the announcement of a judicial inquiry into the widespread recording of calls to stations is maybe something that was organised as a detraction from the main issue. For the simple reason is that in November 2011, lawyers for Ian Bailey were given documents from within the Justice…specifically the DPP which stated that he believed there was no evidence against Ian Bailey. That document was released via the Department of Justice to Ian Bailey and not through the normal channels and that in itself raises its own significant questions. But the, I suppose, the prime one being is that Alan Shatter knew about these allegations going back to 2011 and that the State has, despite all of this, continued to fight this case and defend it.”
Colm Ó Mongáin: “So, as you mentioned, back as far as 2012 and the DPP’s report was furnished to the Bailey legal team when he was fighting extradition proceedings, one would think that the mere mention of Sophie Toscan du Plantier within the Department of Justice would sound serious alarm bells?”
Mooney: “Well, I suppose it’s incomprehensible to think anything else. I mean, we, today, in today’s paper we published more information about letters. The Department of Justice were being notified in February 2008, that there was more issues concerning these matters. I think there’s a very, very clever game being played here. I think that it’s quite clear that this issue is all connected to the case, the civil action concerning Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas and that various people in various arms of the State knew there was a problem going back for years. Like the DPP’s report, which outlined that there was allegations that drugs were being given to people to make, I suppose to get confessions off Ian Bailey and there was preferential treatment being given to Marie Farrell, people like that…”
Ó Mongáin: “Well while those things were said, in the report and the Supreme Court, now that they said that those claims were never tested in court as such but were matters for serious concern.”
Mooney: “Absolutely and I was at some of those Supreme Court hearings and certainly the body language of the judges involved left it very clear that, I think one of the judges described this as matters of absolute exceptional public importance. So this has been known about and the fact that these tapes turned up a number of weeks ago, I think it’s important to suggest that these tapes were in the process of being transcribed so every couple of weeks something new was coming out. Garda headquarters were becoming aware of another issue and that this was being fed up the line, so to speak, into the DPP’s office, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.”
Ó Mongáin: “And do we have knowledge as to then what the protocols were within the Department of Justice, at what level this gets parked and when further information gets kicked up to the highest levels.”
Mooney: “My understanding of this is that this really became a serious and significant issue in the Department of Justice around February 28. There were more correspondence between Martin Callinan and the Department of Justice on March 10. Whatever happened at that point, the following day Martin Callinan was asked to attend a meeting with the Attorney General and people from the Chief State Solicitor’s office and also the Department of Justice itself. And there were significant concerns being expressed at that point. Because the issues here are very, very complex. For example, if gardaí gave drugs to an individual to get incriminating evidence, where did he get the drugs from? I know that is a major, major, major issue now for Garda headquarters.
For example, if those drugs were seized off someone, what happened to the case of the person from whom they were seized from? Who knew what about Marie Farrell? Who was asking Marie Farrell to engage in certain activities or was she coerced as she alleges on that? So there’s lots of different issues emanating out of these tapes. And specifically, the State knew and indeed Enda Kenny knew and I would assume the Department of Justice all knew that this evidence was now being passed over to Ian Bailey’s legal team. Therefore it would be just a matter of time before this would enter the public domain.”
Previously: Hash For Questions?
Pic: Irish Mirror