Dead woman's family to meet French officials

Thu, Nov 8, 2012, 00:00

The family of murdered French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier are to meet French government officials later this month in an effort to get them to put pressure on Ireland to change its European arrest warrant legislation.

The family and their supporters say the legislation is out of line with other countries.

Alain Spilliaert, lawyer for Ms Toscan du Plantier’s parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, said Mr and Ms Bouniol, along with Ms Toscan du Plantier’s son, Pierre Louis Baudey,will meet French government officials on November 16th. “The deputy chief of staff at the ministry of European affairs had agreed to receive Sophie’s parents and her son along with a member of the Association for the Truth About the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier,” Mr Spilliaert said.

“They will ask the French government to support the multiple steps being taken by the family to deal with the refusal by the Irish courts to extradite Ian Bailey to France on foot of a European arrest warrant issued by French magistrate Patrick Gachon.”

Mr Spilliaert said the aim of the meeting was to get the minister for European affairs, Bernard Cazeneuve, to highlight to the Irish Government the family’s belief that Ireland had violated European rules in refusing to extradite Mr Bailey.

The move is aimed to coincide with Ireland’s taking over of the presidency of the European Union in January, said Mr Spilliaert. He added that the family and the association had begun lobbying Irish parliamentarians to redraft the Irish legislation underpinning the warrant.

Mr Bailey was arrested twice for questioning about the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier at her holiday home near Schull in December 1996 but was released without charge on both occasions.

Last March the Supreme Court refused to grant Mr Bailey’s extradition to France, saying it was not satisfied the extradition was for the purpose of charge and the principle of reciprocity required by Irish law governing extradition was not met by French law.

In September the Bouniols’ lawyers lodged a complaint with the European Commission. Mr Spilliaert said Ireland was in “flagrant breach of European agreements” in the manner in which it had enacted the warrant legislation which left an ambiguity surrounding the Act and which the court interpreted as preventing Mr Bailey’s extradition.