Tuesday 26 September 2017

Bailey to face trial in France for murder 20 years ago

Ian Bailey will be tried in absentia in Paris. Photo: Courts Collins
Ian Bailey will be tried in absentia in Paris. Photo: Courts Collins
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Freelance journalist Ian Bailey will face a murder trial in France later this year over the 1996 death of mother-of-one Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) in west Cork.

Mr Bailey (59) has now been indicted for the murder of the film executive by the French authorities and formal court papers were served on Mr Bailey at his Schull home last Thursday by gardaí acting on behalf of the Paris authorities.

He now faces two charges in France - one of which is murder.

Mr Bailey and his legal team have repeatedly predicted that the French will attempt to stage "a show trial" in Paris. His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, described the French legal move as "outrageous" and "unbelievable".

Mr Bailey will now be tried in absentia, which is permitted under French law, after the Irish authorities refused to extradite him to France almost five years ago. The Supreme Court rejected a French extradition bid lodged under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

The French confirmation that a murder trial will proceed is understood to be the first formal communication Mr Bailey has had with the Paris prosecutors.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photo: PA
Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photo: PA

Last month, members of Ms Toscan du Plantier's family attended a special memorial Mass in west Cork to mark the 20th anniversary of her brutal killing. Sophie's son and brother vowed that their fight for justice will never stop.

Now, the French authorities will consider allowing elderly or infirm Irish witnesses to offer evidence in the murder trial via video-link.

Prosecutors want the Paris Criminal Court trial, now expected in late 2017, to involve as many witnesses as possible from the original Garda investigation into her murder on December 23, 1996.

Irish Independent

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