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Thursday 14 December 2017

Sophie's family won't go to Cork until after Bailey ruling

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE family of slain French mother-of-one Sophie Toscan du Plantier have postponed a trip to Ireland until after a landmark extradition ruling.

Former freelance reporter Ian Bailey (54) will have his bid to get the Supreme Court to return an extradition order to the High Court heard next Friday.

He is fighting an attempt by a French magistrate to have him extradited to Paris for questioning and possible trial over the death of Ms Du Plantier (39) in Toormore, Schull, west Cork, 15 years ago.

Mr Bailey has repeatedly protested his innocence and claimed that attempts have been made to frame him.

The High Court last year dramatically ordered Mr Bailey's extradition -- but he has argued the Supreme Court should order a full rehearing in light of dramatic new evidence.

His legal team has claimed that the new evidence hints at "breathtaking wrongdoing" by state officials.

If his bid for a High Court rehearing fails, the law student will then face a full Supreme Court hearing of the original extradition order within days.

Alain Spilliaert, lawyer for Sophie's parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, has said the family wants the matter brought to a conclusion.

"What is important for us is that the Chief Justice said this was an urgent matter -- this is an important point for us," he said. "Our fear was that the hearing could have been postponed for a very long time."

Mr Spilliaert said they still hoped that the Supreme Court hearing of the extradition case would take place, as originally indicated, on January 16.

Sophie's parents had planned to travel to west Cork next Tuesday but have postponed the trip for at least a fortnight to allow the outstanding Supreme Court matter to be resolved.

The family -- with Sophie's aunt, Marie-Madeline Opalka -- will reschedule their trip for late January or early February to mark the 15th anniversary of her death.

The body of the film-maker and socialite was discovered at the foot of a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull in west Cork on December 23, 1996.

No one has ever been charged with her killing.

Irish Independent

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