Sunday 22 September 2019

Paris court rejects Bailey bid to block homicide trial

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

Ralph Riegel

A French court has rejected a bid by British freelance journalist Ian Bailey (60) to halt his Paris-based trial for the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39).

The three-judge 'Chambre d'Instruction' last year heard detailed arguments from Mr Bailey's legal team as part of his appeal against the decision to charge him in relation to the death of the mother of one in west Cork on December 23, 1996.

The charge followed a lengthy investigation by Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon.

The investigation involved the exhumation of Ms du Plantier's body, a battery of high-tech forensic tests and re-interviewing all the original Garda witnesses.

French officials ordered the historic investigation after the Irish authorities had acknowledged that a prosecution here was extremely unlikely.

The French failed in a 2012 bid to have Mr Bailey extradited.

Yesterday, the Paris court rejected Mr Bailey's appeal and said that it found there were "sufficient grounds" for a prosecution.

That cleared the way for Paris prosecutors to try Mr Bailey in absentia in relation to the death.

However, Mr Bailey still has the right to appeal the decision to a higher court.

French officials indicated that they now expect a challenge to be lodged with the higher court, the 'Cour de Cassation'.

Mr Bailey's French legal counsel, Dominique Tricaud, said an appeal would now be given very careful consideration.

The freelance journalist declined to comment to the Irish Independent yesterday on the basis of legal advice.

He is charged in France with the voluntary homicide of Ms du Plantier. The Manchester-born journalist and poet has vehemently protested his innocence.

Mr Bailey claimed that "sinister attempts" were made to frame him for the crime.

Irish Independent

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