Ian Bailey fails in French court appeal over Toscan du Plantier death

Cork-based journalist to take case to European Court of Human Rights

Ian Bailey: disappointed. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times

Ian Bailey: disappointed. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh / The Irish Times


West Cork based journalist Ian Bailey has confirmed that he is to go the European Court of Human Rights to challenge a French decision to charge him over the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier after losing an appeal to the French Supreme Court.

Mr Bailey (61) confirmed to The Irish Times that he had been informed by his French lawyer, Dominique Tricaud that the French equivalent of the Supreme Court, the five-judge Cour de Cassation had rejected his appeal following a hearing in Paris on Wednesday.

Mr Tricaud had made an appeal on Mr Bailey’s behalf against the decision of the French appeal court, the Chambre d’Instruction to reject his appeal against the decision by the French authorities to charge him with the voluntary homicide of Ms Toscan du Plantier in Schull in west Cork on December 23rd, 1996.

Speaking to The Irish Times today, Mr Bailey said that he was not surprised by the latest French ruling which was the final avenue open to him under French law to overturn the decision to charge and prosecute him in relation to the death of the 39-ear-old mother of one.

“Dominique Tricaud tells me he is surprised by both the decision and the speed at which it was given. I am less surprised, although clearly disappointed, that a prosecution file rejected by the Irish authority could make muster in France,” he said.

Mr Bailey also expressed anger at the fact that the Irish Department of Justice, the Irish authority liaising with the French authorities, failed to pass on a request from investigating French magistrate, Judge Patrick Gachon in 2013 to interview him as part of his investigation.

‘Protected witness’

Mr Bailey learned last November that Judge Gachon had written to the Department of Justice in February 2013 seeking to interview him as “a protected witness” but the request was never passed on to him after the Department of Justice wrote back to the French wanting to know what questions they wanted to ask.

Judge Gachon decided not to proceed with the request to interview Mr Bailey as, forewarning a suspect by giving them sight in advance of the questions that the police proposed to put to them is contrary to French law.

Commenting today, Mr Bailey said: “I am also angry that as part of the French investigation, somebody here in Ireland took the decision not to inform me that I had a right to participate in the French investigation.

“So where do I go from here? My French lawyers will now prepare to challenge the false allegation that I had something to do with the death of Madame Sophie Toscan du Plantier in the European Court of Human Rights.”

Asked if he was expecting to be convicted in his absence, which would lead to another attempt by the French to extradite him to France on a European Arrest Warrant as a convicted person to serve a sentence, Mr Bailey said he would face that challenge if it arises, but it could be some time away.

“There has to be a trial in absentia and that could take between several months and two years and I don’t know the outcome of that – I would anticipate down the lane that if I am tried in my absence and convicted then there would be a third European Arrest Warrant issued for me.

“So, yes I am braced for that possibility and a knock on the door late some night to find An Garda Síochána there again with another European Arrest Warrant but I’ve lived with that for a long time now and I will cross that bridge when I come to it.”