Sophie: A Murder in West Cork (2021)
This was probably the worst documentary series in three parts to watch on the night of a full moon. I can’t sleep, and different scenarios keep running through my head. I’m writing this in the middle of the night to get it out of my system. Then, maybe, I’ll be able to sleep.
The Netflix limited series focuses on Ian Bailey, a local journalist who found himself in the middle of the Gardal investigation of the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a documentary film maker from France. She was murdered on December 23, 1996, just outside the house she was renting near Schull, Ireland. Bailey didn’t help himself, or perhaps he couldn’t help himself: he made a lot of mistakes.
Don’t Set a Precedence
His partner, Jules, suffered a significant injury after a night of drink with Bailey, six months before the murder.
Don’t Try to Control the Narrative
As the local journalist, Bailey wrote articles for several newspapers, speculating on what had happened to Sophie.
Don’t Admit to Anything
All suggestions by the police were countered with alibis and excuses by Bailey.
Don’t Try to Intimidate a Witness
One of the local women saw Bailey at a bridge near Sophie’s house @ 3 am that night. He threatened her with exposure of an extra-marital affair.
Don’t Court Publicity After Your Arrest and Release (Twice)
Bailey went out of his way to discuss the Gardal case against him with the Press.
Don’t Be the Worse for Drink with Buddies
Subsequently, Bailey admitted to several people (sometimes in tears) that he had gone too far and had ‘done it’.
Don’t Sue the Press for Defamation of Character
Hoping to obtain judgement against the reports of his arrest and other speculations, Bailey caused the whole world to learn the details of the case against him. The one eye-witness (at 3 am) got to testify, but she recanted her testimony, casting doubt on the truth. Bailey’s case was thrown out.
Do Ignore All Judgements of Foreign Courts
A French court tried Bailey in absentia and found him guilty. 23 years after the murder. The French magistrates accepted a ‘bouquet’ of evidence, which the Irish courts would have found circumstantial.
Here ends today’s lesson.