Ian Bailey has confirmed that he has lodged an appeal in France against the decision by a French magistrate to have him indicted over the death of French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork 20 years ago.
Mr Bailey (60) told The Irish Times he had instructed his French lawyer, Dominique Tricaud, to lodge an appeal to the three-judge court, the chambre de l'instruction, against a charge of voluntary homicide after he received a copy of the indictment from the French authorities last month.
“We would say this is an absolute abuse of process, but I informed Dominique Tricaud that I had been served with this nonsense [the French indictment] and I asked him could he put in an appeal on my behalf and he said he would, so that is what we have done,” said Mr Bailey.
Mr Bailey said his lawyers will now be given access to the full file that the French have prepared on the case and on which investigating magistrate Judge Nathalie Turquey based a decision to have him indicted on a voluntary homicide charge.
French lawyer Alain Spilliaert, who acts for Ms Toscan du Plantier's parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, and her son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, said it is expected Mr Bailey's appeal, lodged on February 13th, will be heard within the next two to three months.
He said both he and Mr Bailey’s lawyers will make submissions before thechambre de l’instruction, which will rule on whether Mr Bailey should be sent forward for trial before the cour d’assises in Paris.
Meanwhile, Mr Spilliaert said the family were hoping that a hearing today before the High Court in Dublin would not endorse a second European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by France for Mr Bailey's extradition.
The EAW issued last July for Mr Bailey's extradition was received in Ireland in November and sent by the Department of Justice to the High Court for endorsement on March 6th, to enable gardai to then execute the warrant and arrest Mr Bailey.
But Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly refused to endorse the warrant, pointing out a previous EAW for Mr Bailey had been struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012. She instructed the Chief State Solicitor, Eileen Creedon, to notify Mr Bailey's lawyers and she adjourned the matter until today.
Mr Spilliaert said Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family are hoping the High Court will not endorse the warrant as it is likely to lead to a futile legal battle in the Irish courts lasting two years or more, with little prospect of success given the 2012 Supreme Court ruling in Mr Bailey’s favour.
“The Supreme Court ruling precludes the surrender at the moment of Mr Bailey to France, so there is no point for us in entering into a legal process in Ireland over this second EAW because there is no prospect of success,” he said.
Mr Spilliaert said the reason Judge Turquey issued the second EAW was it amended the first warrant that sought Mr Bailey in relation to the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, whereas the new warrant clearly states it is for the lesser crime of voluntary homicide.
Mr Bailey was twice arrested by gardaí for questioning about the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier at her holiday home near Schull in December 1996, but has denied any involvement in her killing or ever making any admissions in relation to her death.