Editorial: Du Plantier saga a case of justice never served
THE murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier is a permanent stain on Ireland's criminal justice record. The unsolved murder could also escalate into a major diplomatic incident between France and Ireland, which has suspended co-operation with the French authorities in the wake of a series of revelations about the garda investigation into her death.
Ian Bailey, an English journalist, was twice questioned about the murder. Significantly, he has never been charged.
He is, however, subject to a criminal inquiry in France, which two years ago lost a Supreme Court battle to extradite him from Ireland to face questioning by a Paris-based magistrate.
Mr Bailey can be prosecuted in his absence by the French, who want to send an elite squad of detectives to Ireland to complete their six-year probe. A long-running civil action by Mr Bailey has flushed out alarming internal documents that challenge the integrity of the garda investigation. The material has been described as "shocking and dramatic" by former Chief Justice John Murray – and that was before this year's revelations that secret recordings were made of telephone calls at Bandon garda station where the du Plantier murder investigation was centred.
The case poses legal and moral dilemmas for our criminal justice system. The greatest injustice lies in the fact that no one has been prosecuted for almost 20 years for Ms du Plantier's brutal killing.
A tainted conviction in France would be an equal injustice.