French court rules Ian Bailey should stand trial over death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Mr Bailey still has the option of appealing to France's highest court

A French appeals court has ruled that Ian Bailey should stand trial in France for the voluntary homicide of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The three-judge court has ruled that “sufficient elements" exist to put Mr Bailey on trial.

Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in the murder of the French film producer near Schull in West Cork in December 1996.

He still has the option of appealing to France's highest court. Should he decide to do so, the process could take up to six months.

Ian Bailey's solicitor Frank Buttimer says the French authorities don't have a strong case:

“The evidence upon which I believe it intends to rely is no more than the evidence which we rejected 20 years ago by our DPP, the late Mr Eamonn Barnes and repeatedly rejected subsequently by the remaining or the other two DPPs in this jurisdiction.

“Mr Barnes described it as the thoroughly flawed and prejudiced evidence gathered by the Irish police.”

Death

Ms Toscan du Plantier’s body was found beaten to death near her holiday home in Schull in west Cork just before Christmas 1996.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested in the years that followed but has never been charged in relation to it in this jurisdiction.

In 2012, the Supreme Court rejected France’s first attempt to have him extradited on the ground there was no actual intention to try him.

In June, the courts rejected a second extradition application from the French authorities.

French prosecutors aim to try Mr Bailey ‘in absentia’ in relation to the voluntary homicide charge.