Saturday 24 August 2019

Bailey in bid to halt Paris murder trial and quash EU warrant

Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins Courts
Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins Courts

Ralph Riegel

Freelance journalist Ian Bailey will today ask a French court to reject his Paris-based prosecution over the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and invalidate a European warrant for his arrest.

Mr Bailey's French legal team will make detailed submissions to the Paris Court d'Assizes with regard to his proposed trial in absentia over the 1996 murder of the 39-year-old French mother of one in west Cork.

However, the British-born journalist will not attend the court in person and will remain in Schull, Co Cork, where he has been based since the early 1990s. Mr Bailey (59) declined to comment on the latest development.

However, sources confirmed that his French lawyer will make detailed submissions seeking the proposed trial process be halted and that the existing European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for Mr Bailey, the second issued by the French authorities, be vacated.

The French launched a Paris-based investigation into Ms du Plantier's death nine years ago when the Irish authorities confirmed there was little prospect of a prosecution here.

French authorities are now confident that the majority of 40 Irish witnesses, the bulk of whom were interviewed as part of the original Garda murder probe, will travel to Paris for the planned trial in 2018.

Mr Bailey vehemently protested his innocence in relation to the death of Ms du Plantier. She was found battered to death in a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore in Schull, west Co Cork, on December 23, 1996.

The mother of one had apparently tried to flee from an intruder at her home just hours before she was due to fly back to France for Christmas.

Mr Bailey previously said being wrongly associated with the crime for the past 20 years had been "like a torture".

"I believe this will all only end with my death," he warned earlier this year. "Or, the second alternative is if the French convict me of murder in my absence at a Paris trial."

The French authorities have sought enforcement by Ireland of a second EAW issued last year.

A first EAW was sanctioned by the High Court but rejected by the Supreme Court in 2012 which refused to extradite Mr Bailey to France. Under French law, Mr Bailey can be tried in absentia.

Irish Independent

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