MURDER suspect Ian Bailey will not be able to participate by video link in his forthcoming trial in France for the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, as the French legal system does not allow accused persons to testify unless they are present in court, according to a French lawyer.
Alain Spilliaert, who represents Ms Toscan du Plantier’s parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol and her son Pierre Louis Baudey Vignaud, said the French criminal code is quite clear that an accused person cannot testify by video link in a trial by absentia.
Mr Bailey had suggested that he was going to explore the possibility of giving evidence by video link after the French equivalent of the Supreme Court, the Cour de Cassation, rejected his final bid to overturn the decision by the French authorities to try him over the death of Ms Toscan du Plantier.
Mr Spilliaert welcomed the decision last week by the Cour de Cassation to reject Mr Bailey’s appeal and said he expected that his trial in absentia could proceed by the end of the year and that if Mr Bailey is convicted, he expected the French authorities to seek his extradition from Ireland.
Meanwhile, Mr Bailey (61) has confirmed that he is to go the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the French decision to charge over the death of Ms Toscan du Plantier now that he has exhausted every appeal avenue open to him in France.
Mr Bailey learned last week from his French lawyer, Dominque Tricaud that the five judge Cour de Cassation had rejected his appeal following a hearing in Paris on May 2nd.
Mr Tricaud had made an appeal on Mr Bailey’s behalf against the decision of the French appeal court, the Chambre d’Instruction to reject the decision by the French authorities to charge Mr Bailey with the voluntary homicide of Ms Toscan du Plantier on December 23rd 1996.
Speaking after learning of the outcome, Mr Bailey said that he was not surprised by the latest French ruling which was the final avenue open to him under French law to overturn the decision to prosecute him in relation to the murder.
‘Even if I am tried in absentia in France and found guilty of voluntary homicide, all the French authority will have done is convict an innocent party,’ said Mr Bailey, adding that he would continue to fight any attempt to extradite him.
‘There has to be a trial in absentia and that could take between several months and two years and I don’t know the outcome of that – I would anticipate down the line that if I am tried in my absence and convicted then there would be a third European Arrest Warrant issued for me.
‘So, yes I am braced for that possibility and a knock on the door late some night to find An Garda Síochána there again with another European Arrest Warrant, but I’ve lived with that for a long time now and I will cross that bridge when I come to it.’
Speaking on radio this week, he also said he had read in the French case file that there was ‘alien DNA’ found at the murder scene, which could not be his, as he had already provided a DNA sample for analysis.