Family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier welcome arrest of Ian Bailey

‘We believe this warrant is much stronger than the previous warrants,’ family say

The family of murdered French film producer, Sophie Toscan du Plantier have said the arrest on Monday of English journalist Ian Bailey was an important step in the family's quest for justice.

The High Court on Monday endorsed a European Arrest Warrant issued by French authorities for Mr Bailey's extradition to France to serve a sentence for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996. It followed a court case there which found him guilty of the offence in his absence. Mr Bailey has always denied the murder. He was remanded on bail by the High Court on Monday.

Lawyer Alain Spilliaert, who represents Ms Toscan du Plantier's elderly parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol and her son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, welcomed the High Court decision to endorse the warrant.

“We are relieved that the procedure is continuing in the proper way - we know it is very rare for the Irish High Court not to validate a European Arrest Warrant but at the same time, we are very relieved that it has accepted that this warrant was properly issued by the French authorities,” the statement said.


“We believe this warrant is much stronger than the previous warrants in that it is issued by a criminal court since Bailey has been convicted in France of murder - he was convicted in absentia and what the family wish to see is a new trial where he is present and is legally represented on an equitable basis.”

However Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer said his client was "devastated" by the High Court's decision to endorse the warrant, pointing out that his client had now been arrested five times, twice for questioning and three times on European Arrest Warrants, for a crime he had nothing to do with.

He said he fully respected the European Arrest Warrant process but the French authorities had shown huge disrespect towards the Irish justice system, by firstly having a trial in France after the Irish DPP decided Mr Bailey had no case to answer and then, seeking his extradition after the Irish courts ruled against such a move.

And Mr Buttimer accused the Department of Justice of engaging in “an ongoing and outrageous campaign of persecution against Mr Bailey by facilitating French attempts at every turn to have him removed from the jurisdiction to serve a 25-year sentence imposed by a Paris court which was a French farce”.

He said he did not believe Irish legislative change in April permitted Mr Bailey's extradition given the Supreme Court ruling in 2012 stopping his extradition and he ruled out taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights as he had every confidence in the Irish courts vindicating Mr Bailey's rights.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times