Decision due on challenge against being charged with voluntary homicide of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Ian Bailey will have to wait another week to discover if he has been successful in his appeal against the decision by French prosecutors to charge him there with the voluntary homicide of Ms Toscan du Plantier, with his French lawyer admitting he was “not optimistic”.
The decision on Mr Bailey’s appeal was due to be delivered in Paris yesterday, but it is understood the brief hearing was told that instead the decision had been postponed until February 1.
Ms Toscan du Plantier, a filmmaker, was murdered at her holiday home near Schull in West Cork in December 1996. Mr Bailey, aged 60, has repeatedly denied he had anything to do with her death. French prosecutors have been seeking his extradition and are endeavouring to conduct a trial into the case even in the event that he does not attend.
Mr Bailey’s solicitor in Cork, Frank Buttimer, claimed last year the actions of the French authorities are “thoroughly flawed and prejudiced”, with Mr Bailey likening it to “mental torture”.
Last July a High Court judge threw out an attempt to have Mr Bailey surrendered to French authorities, describing the action as “an abuse of process”.
Ms du Plantier’s uncle, Jean-Pierre Gazeau, was quoted in French media yesterday as saying any decision on the appeal would not end the family’s fight.
Alain Spilliaert, a lawyer working for the du Plantier family, said he still hoped Mr Bailey would be extradited and also signalled he would lodge a complaint with the European Commission against Ireland with regard to the case.
Yesterday Mr Bailey’s Paris-based lawyer, Dominique Tricaud, said no reason was given for the postponement of the decision on his client’s appeal until February 1. However, he said: “I am not optimistic”.
He said of the prosecution attempts: “They treat Ireland like a banana republic and absolutely do not mind if it has been decided in Ireland.”
Mr Tricaud said there was “an important legal aspect” to the case, with prosecutors basing their actions on a file, the contents of which had already been decided upon by the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions.
“We think that the decision of the DPP [not to prosecute] must be considered in France,” he said.
One aspect being looked at by investigators in France is an allegation that Ms du Plantier received a phone call from a journalist in Cork just days before she travelled to Ireland in December 1996.
It was reported that Alexandra Lewy, Ms du Plantier’s cousin, had told French investigators in November 2008 that she recalled a conversation they had days before the filmmaker flew from Paris to Cork, in which Ms du Plantier had said she had been contacted by the man at the film company where she worked, requesting a meeting with her.
Ms Lewy said she could not recall the name of the journalist and Mr Bailey this week denied he ever made any such call. He told the Irish Times: “It’s a completely erroneous suggestion with no basis in fact.”
Yesterday Mr Tricaud said: “There is absolutely nothing new. This information is 10 years old. The French judge has nothing more than the Irish inquiry,” he added.
An online audio documentary series on the original case is to be launched on February 8.
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