Friday 23 August 2019

'Farcical' - Court orders Ian Bailey to pay €225k compensation, half to a fund for victims

Compensation bill: Ian Bailey. Picture: Mark Condren
Compensation bill: Ian Bailey. Picture: Mark Condren

Sarah Collins and Ralph Riegel

Ian Bailey has been ordered to pay €225,000 in compensation to the family of murdered French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey (62) was convicted in absentia of the murder of Ms du Plantier (39) by a Paris court last month and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. He has consistently denied the charges.

Mr Bailey rejected the French prosecution as "farcical", saying he was convicted before the trial even opened.

A source close to the Manchester-born journalist said he had "absolutely no intention" of paying anything on foot of the French court order and "knows absolutely nothing" about the compensation judgment as the court had not notified him of its ruling.

The court ordered that more than half of the money - €115,000 - should go to a state guarantee fund for victims of terrorism and other offences which advanced the payment to Ms du Plantier's family on foot of a High Court order in 2013. It is the same fund that was used to aid victims of the 2015 Paris terror attacks and 2016 truck attack in Nice.

Damages totalling an extra €110,000 have also been awarded to seven members of Ms du Plantier's family, with the bulk of the money going to her son and her parents.

Mr Bailey has 10 years to make the payment, after which time it will become unenforceable.

A lawyer for the family, Alain Spilliaert, said the decision was largely "symbolic" and he didn't expect the state to recoup its advance payment, or for the family to receive the extra €110,000. But he said the award was "important from a psychological point of view".

Mr Bailey has further vowed to contest any French attempt to extradite him on foot of the Paris Criminal High Court judgment.

"This is a nightmare and a torture. I am caught in the eye of the hurricane," he said.

French attempts to have Mr Bailey extradited failed in both 2012 and 2015 - with Mr Bailey predicting a third bid is imminent.

The journalist, poet and law graduate has vowed to pursue a case to the European Court of Human Rights over his treatment by the French authorities.

A civil judgment lodged by Judge Frédérique Aline said Mr Bailey was "entirely responsible" for the "personal injury" suffered by Ms du Plantier's family. It described him as "on the run" and "wanted", and said the civil action resulted from "actual and certain" personal injury to the family.

Ms du Plantier was beaten to death at her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull, in west Cork, on December 23, 1996. No one was ever charged with her murder in Ireland.

Mr Bailey's lawyer, Frank Buttimer, said he knew nothing about the award by the Paris court.

Irish Independent

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