France launches criminal case and arrest warrant for Ian Bailey
Authorities in France have launched a criminal case against former journalist Ian Bailey in connection with the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found beaten to death on a hillside outside her west Cork holiday home on the morning of Monday December 23 1996 - two days before Christmas.
Sophie Toscan du Plantier
Mr Bailey was arrested in February 1997 and again in January 1998 as part of the investigation, but was never charged.
The 59-year-old English man has always denied he had anything to do with the death of the French woman.
Yesterday, a campaign group, called ‘Association pour Sophie Toscan du Plantier’ described the decision by the French officals as a ‘milestone’.
“Following the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Ireland on 23 December 1996, a criminal lawsuit was filed before the French courts on 17 January 1997, in parallel with the judicial proceedings initiated before the Irish courts.
“On 27 July 2016, Mrs Nathalie Turquey, the French investigating judge currently in charge of the case, delivered an indictment order to start a criminal case before the Court of assizes in Paris on the ground of voluntary homicide against Mr Ian Bailey, British citizen residing in Ireland.
“Simultaneously to these proceedings, a second European arrest warrant was issued against Mr Bailey on 13 July 2016 and notified to the Irish authorities.
“Our group duly acknowledges the decision of indictment which intervenes almost 20 years after the tragic death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier: the decision to commit to a criminal trial represents an important milestone in the search for truth and justice about a horrendous crime that the Irish authorities have been, so far, unable to solve.”
Bailey, who moved to west Cork more than 24 years ago, sued the State and An Garda Siochana for wrongful arrest and conspiracy last year but lost after a lengthy hearing.
The 39-year-old French film producer was beaten to death on a freezing night outside her holiday home near Schull, west Cork.
The French authorities, frustrated at the progress made by the Irish investigators, launched their own probe into the murder in 2008 and sought to extradite Bailey in 2011, a request that was rejected by the Supreme Court.
According to reports this afternoon the French investigating judge Mrs Nathalie Turquey delivered an order to start a criminal case against Mr Bailey before the Court of Assizes in Paris.
A warrant has been issued by French authorities for the arrest of Mr Bailey.