Tuesday 22 May 2018

Bailey will challenge French murder trial in human rights court

Ian Bailey lost appeal. Picture: Collins
Ian Bailey lost appeal. Picture: Collins
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

British freelance journalist Ian Bailey (60) has confirmed a challenge to the European Court of Human Rights after he lost an appeal to the French Supreme Court against a Paris-based murder prosecution.

The Manchester-born freelance journalist had just a single avenue of appeal left to block French plans to stage a historic Paris trial over the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) in west Cork in 1996.

Mr Bailey had repeatedly warned that the French would attempt to try and convict him in absentia for the brutal killing, having successfully fought an extradition bid by the French six years ago.

That trial is now expected to take place in early 2019.

Ms Toscan du Plantier, a French film executive and mother of one, was found battered to death on a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull on December 23, 1996.

No one was ever charged with her killing in Ireland.

A French-based investigation was launched 10 years ago when the Irish authorities admitted it was highly unlikely anyone would ever be charged here for the crime.

Mr Bailey confirmed he is now to take a European Court of Human Rights challenge to the Paris prosecution.

"I have been informed by my French lawyer, Dominique Tricaud, that I have failed in the French Supreme Court in my challenge of the decision to charge me with the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier 22 years ago," he said.

"Mr Tricaud said he was very surprised at that decision.

"I am less surprised although clearly disappointed that a prosecution repeatedly rejected by the Irish authorities could make muster in France.

"I am also angry that as part of the French investigation somebody here in Ireland in authority made the decision to not inform me that I had the right to participate in the French investigation.

"My French lawyers will in due course take my challenge to the false allegation that I am somehow unexplainedly connected with the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier to the European Court of Human Rights.

Failed

"Even if I am tried for murder in France and found guilty under their Napoleonic Code of law all they will have done is convict an innocent person and merely managed in France what the members of An Garda Síochána tried to do and failed," Mr Bailey said.

Mr Bailey, who moved to Ireland in 1991, was twice arrested by gardaí for questioning, being released without charge on both occasions in 1997 and 1998.

Since then, Mr Bailey has insisted that "sinister attempts" were made to frame him for the crime.

Members of Sophie's family have staunchly supported the French investigation and welcomed the news a prosecution will now proceed.

Irish Independent

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