Ian Bailey could face ‘new trial’ if he agrees to come to France, Macron says

French president asked about Sophie Toscan du Plantier case during visit to Ireland

Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found dead outside her holiday home in West Cork in 1996.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found dead outside her holiday home in West Cork in 1996.

 

A “new trial” could be arranged for Ian Bailey in France if the Englishman agreed to travel, the French president Emmanuel Macron said in Dublin on Thursday.

During his first official trip to Ireland, Mr Macron was asked about the case of Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was killed in West Cork in December 1996. Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s death.

Mr Macron said:“My thoughts go to her family and friends. It is such a tragedy and so much suffering remains.”

In October last year, the Irish High Court rejected an attempt by French authorities to extradite Mr Bailey in relation to the murder.

Mr Bailey had been 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.

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

Mr 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 in Paris, did not attend the court and described it at the time as a farce.

Mr Macron said on Thursday: “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.”

“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, who attended a press conference with Mr Macron after holding a meeting with him in Government Buildings, 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, which were referenced by Mr Martin.

“We want justice to be done. It is a terrible stain in 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.” – PA