Saturday 16 December 2017

No justice in Ireland says Sophie’s devastated mother

Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey leave court yesterday after his successful appeal against extradition to France. Photo: Collins
Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Frank Buttimer: Ian Bailey's solicitor outside court. reporters, Ralph Riegel and Dearbhail McDonald

THE ELDERLY mother of murdered French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier said she is devastated by the decision of the Supreme Court not to extradite self-confessed suspect Ian Bailey to France for questioning.

“There is no justice in Ireland,” Marguerite Bounoil (85) declared.

Sophie’s heartbroken parents were last night "shocked and frustrated" by the ruling 15 years after the murder of their daughter at her isolated west Cork holiday home.

Speaking from her sister’s home in Venice, Mme Bounoil said the agony goes on for her family.

“I daren’t think what this might do to Sophie’s son Pierre –Louis who was a young teenager when his mother was killed. He might have gone off the rails and taken drugs with such an awful thing happening to him at that age but he has remained very brave throughout the years only to have this decision,” she told the Irish Daily Mail.

The French family's solicitor warned the Irish Independent that the elderly couple were now engaged in a desperate race against time to see justice done for their only daughter.

"Time is our enemy now because of the age of Sophie's parents and their long wait for justice," said Alain Spilliaert.

Georges (87) and Marguerite Bouniol (85) were informed of the landmark Irish legal ruling and were said to be "very upset" by the setback.

There is now a growing fear amongst members of the Sophie Toscan du Plantier Truth Association (STDPTA) -- the group set up by the victim's friends to lobby for a French investigation into the 1996 killing -- that the elderly couple may not live to see the end of any protracted legal process after failing to see anyone charged with the killing over the past 16 years.

The couple visited Ireland last month and attended a special memorial Mass in Goleen, west Cork. Every year they visit their daughter's former holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull, and lay a wreath of white lilies at the stone Celtic cross that marks the spot where her body was found.

Ms Du Plantier's holiday home is now owned by her only son, Pierre-Louis Bauday.

Her parents opted not to attend yesterday's Supreme Court hearing out of respect for the Irish judicial system.

Mr Spilliaert said the family were "shocked and frustrated" by the Supreme Court judgment.

"It is a very big shock for us. It is a step backwards because we were very hopeful, given that the High Court had supported the extradition last year," he said. Mr Spilliaert said the family had been "hopeful" of a positive ruling in the Supreme Court, given the High Court stance last year and their belief that the key issue was the fairness of the French judicial system.

"We were confident -- but this is very disappointing," he said.

Mrs Bouniol -- who has repeatedly thanked the Irish people for their support of her family -- has been in poor health over recent years.

The couple had planned to travel to Ireland in December but had to reschedule the trip because of health issues.

Irish Independent

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