IAN Bailey’s partner Jules Thomas and key witness Marie Farrell are among the West Cork witnesses who have been asked by the French authorities to travel to Paris to testify in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder trial, The Southern Star has learned.
Ms Thomas and her three daughters, Saffron, Ginny and Fennella, have all received summonses from the Cour d’Assises in Paris, requesting them to attend the trial which is due to start on Monday May 27th.
Schull resident Ian Bailey is on trial for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier at her holiday home in December 1996, but he has already said he will not be attending.
It’s understood that the French authorities have written to about 33 witnesses – many of whom testified at either Mr Bailey’s libel action in 2003, or his action against the Irish State in 2014 – requesting them to travel to France to testify.
One witness said many were unwilling to go to Paris as they had to pay up front for their travel and accommodation expenses, although they will be reimbursed by the French authorities at a later date.
The French authorities have no power to compel Irish witnesses to attend the trial and it’s understood that neither Ms Thomas nor any of her three daughters intend travelling to Paris to testify in the case against Ms Thomas’ partner of over 25 years.
Meanwhile it’s emerged that Marie Farrell returned home on Monday from a trip abroad to discover that she had also been served with a summons, but she too does not plan to travel to France for the trial.
Ms Farrell originally identified Ian Bailey as the man she saw at Kealfadda Bridge near Ms Toscan du Plantier’s house in Toormore at around 3am on December 23rd 1996, the night of the murder, and she gave that evidence for several newspapers in a 2003 libel action Mr Bailey brought against eight titles.
However, she subsequently retracted that statement and told Mr Bailey’s unsuccessful High Court action against the State for wrongful arrest in 2014 that she had been coerced by gardaí into making a false statement against him and that Mr Bailey was not the man she saw at Kealfadda Bridge.