herald

Saturday 26 May 2018

French look to try Bailey for murder by October

Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey

French authorities are set to proceed with trying Ian Bailey for murder over the 1996 death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier by October.

Prosecutors are pressing ahead with preparations for the long-planned trial in Paris after the English-born journalist lost a French Supreme Court bid to block the case last week.

It was his final avenue of challenge in France to a murder trial over the killing in West Cork of the film executive and mother-of-one.

She was found battered to death on the laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull.

Logistics

No one was ever charged with her killing in Ireland despite one of the biggest murder investigations in the history of the State.

France launched its own Paris-based inquiry when it was clear no prosecution would take place here.

Last night, one French legal source indicated that the European Court of Human Rights challenge flagged by Mr Bailey (60) would have no bearing on the French criminal proceedings.

Prosecutors are now focused on the logistics of the trial.

While it is hoped it may be ready by October, any delays over witnesses or evidential presentations could stall proceedings until early next year.

French prosecutors want the trial to proceed as quickly as possible, given that the original investigation was launched almost a decade ago.

Mr Bailey said he was not surprised that the French were pressing ahead to try him in absentia.

The ASSOPH support group in France, founded to support Ms Toscan du Plantier's family, has warned the Irish authorities that it expects them to fully comply with European commitments in terms of judicial co-operation and extraditions.

Mr Bailey claimed this week that the forensic file - which he was able to examine as part of the French investigation - revealed unidentified, or "alien", DNA was found at the murder scene.

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