‘We do not fear’ court bid by Ian Bailey

The solicitor for the family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier say they “do not fear” efforts by Ian Bailey to bring a case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and also said they hope to hold the trial against him in France before the end of the year.

The assertion by Alain Spilliaert came as Mr Bailey claimed the French prosecution file linked to efforts to try him for the voluntary homicide of Ms du Plantier shows there was “alien DNA” at the murder scene in Schull.

It was reported last week by the Irish Examiner and others that Mr Bailey now intends to go to the ECHR after the French supreme court rejected his appeal against an earlier decision by the French high court to stop authorities there from prosecuting him in relation to the December 1996 death of the filmmaker.

Speaking to Cork radio station 96FM yesterday, Mr Bailey said he was now trying to raise money to proceed with his application to the ECHR. He also said he had received, as part of his legal actions in France, the French prosecution file, which he said showed the presence of DNA belonging to someone else at the scene of Ms du Plantier’s murder.

“There was, apparently, according to the file, ‘alien DNA’,” he said, which was neither his nor Ms du Plantier’s. “It doesn’t tell me the identity of the person but it does show that there was someone else,” he said.

As for the French prosecution file, he said: “I could see it was based upon a lot of statements that were false or withdrawn.”

Ms du Plantier’s body was found on December 23, 1996, and her family has increased its efforts in recent years to have Mr Bailey, 61, prosecuted in connection with her death. He has consistently denied any involvement in the death of the French filmmaker but could now face being tried in his absence in France for her voluntary homicide.

A lawyer for the du Plantier family, Mr Spilliaert, told the Irish Examiner : “We do not fear any debate before the European Court.”

He said as Mr Bailey would not be appearing at any forthcoming trial in France, it would proceed in absentia and “will last only a few days”.

It is more than 20 years [since Ms du Plantier’s death] — the family is exhausted, they do not need to lose time.

Mr Spilliaert also said it was unlikely that Mr Bailey would be allowed to give video evidence and also said French detectives had interviewed witnesses on video and therefore it was unlikely witnesses would need to travel to France for the trial.

He also hoped a trial could take place before the year end and if Mr Bailey was found guilty, a fresh European arrest warrant was likely to be issued.

Two extradition attempts have already been turned down and Mr Spilliaert admitted that the issue of reciprocity between the French and Irish legal systems would likely mean any future extradition attempt could also be unsuccessful.

Mr Bailey has consistently denied any role in Ms du Plantier’s death and said yesterday: “This is the 22nd year now that I have been tortured and prosecuted on a false allegation.

My big prayer is that the true identity of the murderer can be revealed.

The case has gained added international attention as a result of a hugely successful podcast, West Cork.

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