Family upset by publication of case review


The family of murdered French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier have expressed their shock and upset that a confidential review of the case by the Director of Public Prosecutions has been published on the internet.

Ms Toscan du Plantier’s uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau, said the family were “very upset” to learn recently that the 44-page detailed review by the DPP of the Garda file into his niece’s murder was published on the internet almost a year ago .

“For us, it was shocking to discover this document was now open for all the public to read with details relating to how my niece was murdered and the injuries she suffered – the first page for example, says how she had some 50 wounds.

“Sophie was murdered most brutally 16 years ago, her life and her dignity were violated by her killer but now it seems her dignity has been violated yet again with details of her killing and the investigation being made public in this way.”

Another setback

Mr Gazeau said the publication was yet another setback in a long history of setbacks which the family had suffered in their quest for justice for Ms Toscan du Plantier, who was murdered at her holiday home near Schull in west Cork in December 1996.

Lawyer Alain Spilliaert, who represents Ms Toscan du Plantier’s parents Georges and Marguerite Bouniol; her son Pierre Louis Baudey; and campaign group the Association for the Truth about the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier were equally surprised.

“Sophie’s murder is still under criminal investigation in Ireland – the file remains open – and accordingly some secrecy is necessary.

‘Clear violation’

“Putting this on the internet is a clear violation of that secrecy necessary for any criminal investigation,” he said.

“The document contains the names of witnesses who made statements in confidence to the police.

“These people now find they are named and what they said is open for everyone to see – I have never heard of this happening before in a criminal case. It’s a scandal.”

The existence of the review by Robert Sheehan, a solicitor at the DPP’s office, came to light in November 2011 when it was made available to English journalist Ian Bailey prior to his Supreme Court appeal against a High Court ruling to extradite him to France.

Mr Bailey appealed the decision to extradite him to France, where he is sought in connection with the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

The review was one of two documents made available by the DPP to his legal team in its appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, it appears the document was published on the international document-sharing website Scribd on March 2nd, 2012, by journalist Malachy Browne.

This was one day after Mr Bailey won his Supreme Court appeal against extradition to France.

More than 2,600 views

To date, the document, entitled An Analysis of Evidence Linking Ian Bailey to the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, has been viewed over 2,600 times on Scribd.

Contacted by The Irish Times regarding the publication of the review, a spokeswoman said that the DPP had no comment to make on the matter.