Murder victim’s family may take civil suit

THE family of murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier is expected to seek damages of about 1m from a man living in West Cork.

The papers in the proposed High Court civil action were served last week on Ian Bailey.

It is believed to be the first civil claim for damages for unlawful killing in the history of the State.

Mr Bailey’s solicitor Con Murphy said any action would be vigorously defended.

Earlier this year, in a separate civil action, Mr Bailey initiated legal proceedings against a number of Irish and British newspapers which had linked him to the 1996 tragedy.

No-one has ever been charged in connection with the unlawful killing of the 39-year-old television documentary producer.

In newspaper interviews in 1997, Mr Bailey strenuously denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s death.

The legal papers were served on Mr Bailey, a journalist, at his residence in Schull last week.

In December last year, the murdered woman’s family lodged preliminary papers in the High Court.

The action is being taken by her son Pierre Louis Baudey, her parents Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, and her former husband Daniel Toscan du Plantier, who died earlier this year.

The French-based relatives are seeking damages for her wrongful death, for loss and emotional upset and distress, and for the infringement of their constitutional rights.

The civil suit will refer to the mental and emotional distress sustained as a result of the murder.

A substantial garda file into the unlawful killing was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A review of the evidence was also conducted two years ago at the request of the DPP. With no criminal proceedings pending in the case, the family instituted civil proceedings.

No date is yet fixed in the High Court list for the proposed hearing.

The family’s legal representatives are expected to seek discovery of the garda file into the investigation.

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