Murdered Frenchwoman’s family at Irish mass

20th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

DUBLIN, Dec 19 (AFP) - The family of French television producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was found battered to death in Ireland eight years ago, pledged to continue the fight to find her killer when they attended a memorial service on Sunday.

DUBLIN, Dec 19 (AFP) - The family of French television producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was found battered to death in Ireland eight years ago, pledged to continue the fight to find her killer when they attended a memorial service on Sunday.

The body of Du Plantier, 38, the third wife of producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a leading figure in the French film world, was found on a lane leading to her isolated holiday home in the southwest of Ireland on December 23, 1996.

Every year since the murder her family has made a pre-Christmas visit to County Cork to attend a memorial service in the Roman Catholic Church in Goleen, close to where the body was found in the Toomore valley.

Du Plantier's parents Georges and Marguerite Bouniol and her aunt Marie Madeline Opalka laid a bunch of white lilies at the entrance to her holiday home.

The Bouniols and Du Plantier's son, Pierre Louis Baudey, are taking an unprecedented civil legal action in Ireland's courts seeking damages for her murder from an English journalist.

Du Plantier's husband had been also taking part in the case with her parents and son but he has since died.

"If the murderer keeps living like everybody else, I will have done nothing for my daughter," Marguerite Bouniol said.

The family's legal action is believed to be the first case of its kind ever taken in the Republic.

The journalist, Ian Bailey who lives close to the Du Plantier holiday home, was questioned twice by police about the murder - in February 1997 and January 1998.

He was released without charge on both occasions.

The civil legal action of the kind being taken by the family requires a lesser burden of proof than a criminal prosecution by police.

In an Irish civil trial a verdict is decided on the balance of probabilities. Police must prove the facts "beyond all reasonable doubt".

Earlier this year Bailey lost a libel action against eight newspapers who named him as the suspected killer.

Recently, he was unsuccessful in a legal challenge to have the family's case against him dismissed.

Opalka said the family remained confident there would be a successful outcome to the lengthy investigation by Irish police.

"I think that justice will be done. Sometimes we are a little bit despaired," she said.

The family's case against Bailey will go ahead unless a criminal prosecution is initiated by Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The DPP is the State's independent law officer who supervises criminal prosecutions and decides if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against suspects.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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