State will not appeal refusal to extradite Ian Bailey to France

English resident of Schull, Co Cork says decision is a ‘relief’ but he expects French trial to proceed

The State will not appeal against the High Court’s decision last month to refuse the extradition of Ian Bailey to France. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

The State will not appeal against the High Court’s decision last month to refuse the extradition of Ian Bailey to France. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

English journalist, Ian Bailey has welcomed confirmation by the State that it does not intend appealing a High Court ruling preventing his extradition to France to face a charge over the death of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork 20 years ago.

Mr Bailey (60) told The Irish Times he was “relieved and quietly pleased” to learn on Thursday that the State does not intend appealing the ruling by Mr Justice Tony Hunt in the High Court last month prohibiting his extradition to France on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Mr Justice Hunt had dismissed the Minister for Justice’s application as an “abuse of process”, among other reasons.

“I actually thought the State would appeal Mr Justice Hunt’s decision to the Supreme Court so to learn today that they are not going to - that is very welcome- it’s a relief - but it’s not the end of the matter as I fully expect the French to proceed with a trial in France in my absence,” he said.

Mr Bailey said that he was also delighted that the State had decided not to contest the issue of costs in the case as it meant his legal team led by his solicitor, Frank Buttimer would be paid for the huge amount of work they had put in to fighting the EAW and his extradition to France.

At Thursday’s hearing at the High Court, solicitor for the state, Gareth Lynch told the court the State was not going to appeal the matter whereupon Garrett Simons SC for Mr Bailey applied for costs and Mr Justice Hunt granted the application, awarding the costs of the case to Mr Bailey.

‘Sword of Damocles’

“Today’s news is a relief but it’s by no means the end of matters - there’s been a Sword of Damocles hanging over me for many years now because of the possibility of a trial in France and that sword continues to hang over me even though I try to get on with my life as best I can,” said Mr Bailey.

“And while the EAW has been rejected by the Irish courts, it remains extant elsewhere in Europe which means I can’t leave Ireland as I would be arrested and that is a serious infringement of my constitutional right to freedom of travel which is very limiting,” he said.

Mr Bailey of The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, Co Cork was twice arrested by gardaí for questioning about the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier (39) whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home at Toormore on the morning of December 23rd 1996.

However Mr Bailey was released without charge on both occasions and he has denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s death and denied ever making admissions to a number of people that he killed the mother of one.

The state’s decision not to appeal Mr Justice Hunt’s ruling comes five years after the Supreme Court ruled in March 2010 that Mr Bailey’s should not be extradited to France on foot of an earlier EAW issued by French authorities in 2010 which was approved by the High Court in March 2011.

But the Supreme Court overturned the 2011 High Court decision, on a number of grounds including that that the French authorities had failed to specify that the arrest and extradition was for the purpose of charge which is required under Irish law.