Saturday 7 December 2019

Bailey gives Shatter a week to halt help for Sophie detectives

Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey
Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Ralph Riegel

BRITISH journalist Ian Bailey will take a High Court injunction if Justice Minister Alan Shatter does not immediately suspend all co-operation with a French probe into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, wrote to Mr Shatter last Thursday giving the Government a one-week deadline to cease all assistance with the French investigation.

The move came as an elite team of French detectives is due to visit Ireland within weeks.

The 56-year-old Manchester-born journalist, who was twice arrested for questioning in relation to the December 23, 1996, killing, is now suing the State for wrongful arrest.

Mr Bailey was released without charge on both occasions and repeatedly claimed since then that efforts were made to frame him for the crime.

He successfully fought a French extradition bid in the Supreme Court three years ago.

Mr Bailey's legal team has now argued that continued government co-operation with the French investigation under Magistrate Patrick Gachon represents an abuse of process.

Further, Mr Bailey's legal team have also warned that Ireland's ongoing co-operation with the Gachon investigation threatens to undermine the probe set up under Supreme Court judge Nial Fennelly into the taping of telephone calls at garda stations.

Mr Bailey's legal team has argued that continued Irish co-operation with the French will breach his Constitutional rights and European human rights.

They have demanded that Mr Shatter confirms all assistance will end by Thursday and that the French detectives will be told not to travel to Ireland. The failure to give such an undertaking will result in a High Court injunction being sought.

Pact

The development came as Sophie's parents will visit Ireland next month. Georges (88) and Marguerite Bouniol (86) will travel to west Cork amid pleas that Ireland must continue to honour the mutual assistance pact with French police.

The self-styled Association for the Truth about the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier will also stage a press conference in Cork on May 17 to update developments.

Alain Spilliaert, the French solicitor for Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, insisted that Ireland was committed to assisting Magistrate Gachon.

Irish Independent

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