Ian Bailey extradition hearing to be heard in High Court next month

French authorities seeking extradition of former journalist over killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Ian Bailey at the High Court on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts

Ian Bailey at the High Court on Monday. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A hearing into the proposed extradition of Ian Bailey to France, for the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, will take place in the High Court next month.

It is the third time French authorities have sought Mr Bailey’s surrender in relation to the death of Ms du Plantier, whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996.

Mr Bailey, with an address at The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, west Cork, was convicted of the Frenchwoman’s murder in his absence in a Paris court earlier this year. The three-judge Cour d’Assises in Paris accordingly imposed a 25-year prison sentence on him in his absence.

The 62-year-old Englishman denies any involvement in the mother-of-one’s death. He did not attend the French court and had no legal representation in the proceedings, which he has described as a “farce”.

Lawyers for Mr Bailey told the High Court on Monday that they had finalised their points of objection to the proposed surrender, which will be argued before Mr Justice Donald Binchy on February 10th next.

Counsel for Mr Bailey, Ronan Munro SC, told the judge that they will be focusing on “fundamental rights” and that the authorities’ previous two extradition attempts were “relevant” to their points of objection to the present attempt.

Remanding Mr Bailey on continuing bail, Mr Justice Binchy adjourned the case for three weeks.

The Supreme Court refused to extradite Mr Bailey in 2012 holding that surrender was prohibited because the alleged offence was committed outside French territory and Irish law does not allow prosecution for the same offence when committed outside its territory by a non-Irish citizen. Extradition law is based on reciprocity.

Counsel for the Minister for Justice, Robert Barron SC, has told the court that the two previous extradition attempts were unsuccessful but in the intervening period, Mr Bailey had been convicted of the Frenchwoman’s voluntary homicide.

Mr Barron has also said that provisions introduced in the 2019 Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Act could raise two possible interpretations of the Supreme Court’s majority finding on extraterritoriality in 2012.

The second French extradition request in respect of My Bailey was dismissed as an “abuse of process” by the High Court in 2017, with Mr Justice Tony Hunt holding the “unique features” of the case justified “termination” of the proceedings.

Mr Justice Hunt said Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions had concluded “long ago that there is no basis for either [a] charge or trial on this matter in this jurisdiction, and unusually, a comprehensive statement of reasons for this prosecutorial decision came into the public domain during the previous Supreme Court” case.