Ian Bailey's lawyer says he will be convicted over Sophie Toscan du Plantier killing

The maximum sentence he can be given in France is 30 years

Ian Bailey's lawyer says he will be convicted over Sophie Toscan du Plantier killing

Ian Bailey pictured leaving the High Court in Dublin in 2015 | Image: RollingNews.ie

A lawyer for Ian Bailey has predicted he will be handed a 30-year prison sentence in absentia in France.

Mr Bailey's lawyer, Dominique Tricaud, predicts his client will be convicted of voluntary homicide over the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

This is the maximum sentence for this unpremeditated murder charge under French law.

Last July, a European arrest warrant was issued for Mr Bailey in connection with the killing of Ms du Plantier at her holiday home in west Cork in 1996.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested by gardaí and questioned about the murder - but has always denied involvement.

No one has ever been charged in Ireland in connection with her death. It is believed Mr Bailey will not attend the the trial in France.

"If you don't attend your own trial in France, you usually receive the maximum sentence," Irish Times Paris correspondent Lara Marlowe told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk.

"The...equivalent of a book of evidence in Ireland...is around 50 pages long - and it's a compilation of all the testimony against Bailey, of the interviews that were done by French investigating magistrates and French police in Ireland.

"That will be read out on the first day of the trial, so in a sense the evidence will be heard.

"What's going to happen is Bailey's defenders...will say 'it was a farce, it was a sham, it was a masquerade and this was just done to make the family happy' - and that's what the family's lawyers fear, that it will in some way lose its credibility because of this boycott."

But Ms Marlowe says Mr Bailey has not even received the arrest warrant yet.