Thursday 22 March 2018

French want psychologist to study Bailey diary

Sophie Toscan du Plantier
Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Ralph Riegel and Tom Brady

FRENCH investigators want copies of the diaries of former freelance journalist Ian Bailey so they can be referred to a psychologist in advance of a trial next year over Sophie Toscan du Plantier's death.

The revelation came as a team of top Paris detectives and forensic scientists arrive in Ireland today to conduct interviews with 31 Irish witnesses regarded as crucial to the planned Paris trial.

Mr Bailey (53) -- who was twice arrested and released without charge by gardai in relation to the December 23, 1996, killing in west Cork -- has vehemently protested his innocence.

Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon has ordered a team of four French detectives and three forensic scientists to Ireland as part of the final case preparations.

The forensic scientists -- who will focus their work in Dublin -- will gain access for the first time to evidence held in the garda murder file.

They are set to undertake a complex series of tests ranging from DNA, fibre and chemical analysis scans in a bid to uncover clues as to the identity of Ms Toscan du Plantier's killer.

However, their work faces a major obstacle in that no murder weapon was ever found -- and all tests to date have indicated no DNA samples other than those of Ms Toscan du Plantier herself.

The French detectives will reinterview the bulk of the witnesses who made sworn statements to gardai in 1996-98 as part of the original Irish probe.

Two senior gardai -- Chief Supt Tom Hayes and Detective Inspector Joe Moore -- will liaise with the French detective team.

The French detectives will operate from Bantry and Bandon garda stations -- and could be in Ireland for up to 10 days.

The bulk of the witnesses have indicated that they are willing to travel to Paris, if necessary, for a trial in relation to Ms Toscan du Plantier's death.


The French cannot compel witnesses to travel -- but have offered to cover all their travel, accommodation and living expenses for any trial evidence.

A key element of the French team's visit here will be gaining access to copies of Mr Bailey's personal diaries. The original diaries were returned to Mr Bailey three years ago by gardai on foot of a series of District Court and Circuit Court orders.

However, the French are hopeful they will get access to copies of the documents which were retained by gardai.

The Irish Independent has learned that the French team intend to refer the copies to a Paris psychologist who will, in turn, then offer court evidence.

The lawyer for Ms Toscan du Plantier's family, Alain Spillieart, said they were hopeful progress would be made.

Mr Bailey is appealing a High Court extradition order to the Supreme Court after the French authorities issued a European Arrest Warrant for him in 2010. He has vowed to fight the extradition order to the European Court of Justice if necessary.

Ms Toscan du Plantier's body was discovered in a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull, at 10am on the morning of December 23.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule in November on the extradition appeal.

Irish Independent

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