The infamous murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in County Cork is one step closer to going to trial – more than 21 years after her death.
British journalist and poet Ian Bailey is to stand trial for the murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier more than two decades after her murder. On Tuesday a Parisian court dismissed Bailey's appeal against being tried in France for a crime committed in Ireland.
In one of Ireland’s most intriguing unsolved murder cases, a neighbor discovered the battered, beaten corpse of French filmmaker, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, on December 23, 1996, the same day she was due to leave her west Cork five-bedroom farmhouse to join her husband, famous French producer Daniel du Plantier, for a Christmas break in Africa.
Bailey has been arrested twice in connection with her murder but has never been charged. He has always maintained his innocence and has even filed lawsuits against An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force) and the Irish Minister for Justice, claiming that there were attempts made by Irish authorities to frame him for the crime.
It is now more than 21 years since Toscan du Plantier's murder. Bailey, now 61, will face trial, as Toscan du Plantier's family continue their decades-long hunt for justice. The main appeals court in Paris on Tuesday rejected Bailey's appeal, stating that there are "sufficient elements" to make him stand trial. Bailey’s lawyer Dominique Tricaud stated that a further challenge to the decision is being considered.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Bailey said he was “disappointed but not surprised” at Tuesday’s decision, which came after he launched an appeal in March 2017. In October 2016, French magistrate Nathalie Turquey indicted him for voluntary homicide and there has been a European arrest warrant for Bailey since 2010. Irish courts have twice refused to extradite Bailey.
“It's a relief for the family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, even if they know that the trial won't happen immediately and will probably take place without the suspect,” said a lawyer for the victim's family, Laurent Pettiti.
“The goal is that once there has been a trial and sentencing, Paris will push Dublin to finally extradite him.”
It was recently announced that the murder case is the subject of an upcoming Audible podcast. Entitled “West Cork,” the 13-part series is said to have taken three years to make and will be available on February 8.
You can read more about the entire Ian Bailey and Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case here.