Thursday, August 26, 2021

By Dominic McGrath, PA

A new trial could be arranged for Ian Bailey in France, the French president said on Thursday.

Speaking during a one-day visit to Dublin – his first official trip to Ireland – Emmanuel Macron said: “My thoughts go to her family and friends. It is such a tragedy and so much suffering remains. The trial is still ongoing and accordingly the family could not mourn.”

He said that if Bailey agreed to travel to France, a new trial may be arranged.

In October last year, the High Court in Ireland rejected an attempt by French authorities to extradite Bailey for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Bailey was facing a third extradition process to France, in relation to the death of Ms Toscan du Plantier whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996.

The court ruled that Mr Bailey would not be surrendered to France following a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued in 2019.

Bailey, with an address at The Prairie in Schull, was convicted of murder in his absence by a court in Paris in May 2019.

The three-judge court imposed a 25-year sentence.

He had no legal representation for the case, did not attend the court and described it at the time as a farce.

He has always denied any involvement in the Frenchwoman’s death.

“Should the person condemned agree to come to France, a new trial could be organised but so far he has been refusing to do so,” Mr Macron said.

“The French Court is now considering what to do next and it’s leaving a window, a period of time, for the Irish and French courts to decide what to do next.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin called the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier a “terrible and horrible deed”.

“To the family, we send our sincere and ongoing sympathies. But also empathy. I watched the recent documentaries and one could not but be struck by the nobility and dignity of Sophie’s family,” Mr Martin said.

In recent months, two new documentaries on the murder were released.

“We want justice to be done. It is a terrible stain inn terms of country, in terms of what happened,” Mr Martin said.

“As a person who loves that part of the country myself, it is incomprehensible what happened on that particular evening.”

Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

More National News