President of France says a 'new trial' could be arranged for murder suspect Ian Bailey

President of France says a 'new trial' could be arranged for murder suspect Ian Bailey

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron says that Ian Bailey could face a new trial over his alleged involvement in the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

President Macron, who arrived in Ireland on Thursday for his very first state visit, paid tribute to the family of Ms Toscan du Plantier - the French filmmaker who was killed outside her home in west Cork in December 1996.

He also suggested that a new trial could be arranged in the event that Bailey - the self confessed prime suspect in the murder case - travels to France.

"My thoughts go to her family and friends," Macron said.

"It is such a tragedy and so much suffering remains. The trial is still ongoing and accordingly the family could not mourn."

In 2019, Manchester-born Bailey was convicted in absentia by a French court and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Former British journalist Ian Bailey leaves the High Court in Dublin on July 17, 2020 after attending an extradition hearing considering the issue of a European Arrest Warrant by the French authorities over the 1996 murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier. 

Extradition requests have been filed, but ultimately rejected in Ireland, where Bailey resides to this day.

But President Macron says that France and Ireland could work together to organise another trial for the former journalist.

"Should the person condemned agree to come to France, a new trial could be organised but so far he has been refusing to do so," he said.

“The French Court is now considering what to do next and it's leaving a window, a period of time, for the Irish and French courts to decide what to do next."

Taoiseach Micheal Martin branded the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier a "terrible and horrible deed" - and said he was struck by her family's dignity in recent documentary series.

The Fianna Fail leader said: "To the family, we send our sincere and ongoing sympathies. But also empathy. I watched the recent documentaries and one could not but be struck by the nobility and dignity of Sophie’s family.

"We want justice to be done. It is a terrible stain inn terms of country, in terms of what happened.

"As a person who loves that part of the country myself, it is incomprehensible what happened on that particular evening."