Ian Bailey: 'I have no chance of a fair trial in France'
Published 09/08/2016 | 02:30
Ian Bailey has claimed he has no chance of a fair trial in France.
The man who French authorities want tried for the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan de Plantier has pleaded with the Irish authorities to mount a prosecution here.
"It would be like a prayer being answered (an Irish prosecution). I want to clear my name once and for all," he said.
"No human being should have to live with this constantly hanging over them. I had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this."
"I believe the only chance I have of a fair trial is right here in Ireland."
"I certainly don't believe that I will get it over there (Paris)."
The French authorities are to consider allowing elderly or infirm Irish witnesses to offer evidence in a murder trial via video-link.
Prosecutors want the Paris Criminal Court trial, expected in mid 2017, to involve as many witnesses as possible from the original Garda investigation into Sophie's murder on December 23 1996.
The revelation came as it emerged the exhaustive eight year French investigation has found no new forensic, DNA or physical evidence over the murder.
Almost 40 witnesses will be invited to offer evidence at the Paris trial, including Sophie's Toormore neighbours, retired Garda officers and residents from Goleen and Schull.
Sophie was found battered to death on the laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull two days before Christmas.
Under French law, the trial can take place in Paris even if British freelance journalist Ian Bailey (59) is not present.
Mr Bailey, who has vehemently protested his innocence, successfully fought extradition to France in 2012.
He was twice arrested by Gardaí in 1997 and 1998 for questioning but was released without charge on both occasions.