Ian Bailey to face trial in Paris in relation to killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier
French court rejected bid by Bailey to halt trial
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 French court, the three judge 'Chamber 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 west Cork witnesses in the original Garda murder investigation by an elite team of French detectives.
French officials ordered the investigation after the Irish authorities acknowledged that a prosecution here was extremely unlikely in relation to the case.
The French failed in a 2012 bid to have Mr Bailey extradited after it was rejected by the Supreme Court.
A fresh European Arrest Warrant was issued for Mr Bailey by the French in 2016.
Today the Paris court is reported to have rejected Mr Bailey's appeal against being charged in France and returned him for trial.
The decision has effectively cleared the way for French 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 is charged in France with the voluntary homicide of Ms du Plantier.
The Manchester-born journalist and poet has vehemently protested his innocence in relation to the matter.
Mr Bailey insisted he had no involvement in Ms du Plantier's death - and further claimed that "sinister attempts" were made to frame him for the crime.
Ms du Plantier was found battered to death at the foot of a laneway leading to her isolated holiday cottage at Tooremore outside Schull in west Cork.
Her body was discovered at 10am on December 23 1996 by a neighbour going out to do Christmas shopping.
Ms du Plantier was killed after apparently trying to flee from an intruder at her property.
The French woman had arrived in Ireland alone for a pre-Christmas break several days earlier.
She was due to fly back to France later that day, December 23, to spend Christmas with her family and son, Pierre Louis.
Her family have lead a determined 22 year campaign for justice for the mother-of-one.