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Sophie's parents to visit ahead of hearing

THE parents of slain French mother of one Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) are to travel to Ireland to mark their daughter's 15th anniversary just days before a landmark Supreme Court extradition hearing.

On January 16 the Supreme Court will hear the appeal by Manchester-born former freelance journalist Ian Bailey (54) against his extradition to France for possible trial over Ms Toscan Du Plantier's death, which occurred just 48 hours before Christmas in 1996.

Mr Bailey has consistently protested his innocence and is now challenging a High Court order which ratified his extradition to Paris.

The Irish Independent has now learned that Ms Toscan Du Plantier's parents -- Georges and Marguerite Bouniol -- will attend a special memorial for their daughter in west Cork, the week before the hearing, but are not expected to go to the court.


Instead, they will stay in Ms Toscan Du Plantier's former holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull, which is now owned by her son and their grandson, Pierre-Louis.

The family's lawyer, Alain Spillaiert, said Mr and Mrs Bouniol intended to travel to Ireland on January 10.

Mr Bailey's legal team sought a postponement of the Supreme Court extradition hearing -- which was due to take place last month -- after dramatic new material came to light.

It emerged the State had provided new material to both the defence legal team and the French authorities.

Mr Bailey's solicitor Frank Buttimer said the material was "unprecedented by any standards" and hinted at "breathtaking wrongdoing" by officials.

The appeal hearing is set to prove a landmark legal case not just for Ireland, but also for France and Britain.

Irish Independent