Toscan du Plantier family lawyer says Bailey extradition unlikely

Spilliaert says 2012 Supreme Court ruling will pose challenge and trial likely to be in absentia

A lawyer for the family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has said the French extradition request for Ian Bailey is unlikely to be successful and a trial is likely to proceed in his absence.

Alain Spilliaert who acts for the parents of the murdered French film producer Georges and Marguerite Bouniol and her son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud acknowledged that the French authorities may not be successful in their request to have Mr Bailey extradited given a Supreme Court judgement in 2012.

On that occasion when the Supreme Court adjudicated on appeal by Mr Bailey against a High Court order granting his extradition to France on a European Arrest Warrant, the five judge court deemed the warrant to be unlawful and overturned the High Court order.

The judges ruled unanimously that the warrant was invalid because it did not specify that Mr Bailey was wanted for the purpose of charge as opposed to questioning and Irish law only permits extradition for the purpose of charge.


They also ruled by a four to one majority that the French warrant was not valid on the grounds of reciprocity in that Ireland did not have a corresponding piece of legislation to that in France while allows the French authorities to prosecute someone for the murder of a French citizen abroad.

The only provision in Irish law for the prosecution of an offence committed abroad is if the accused person, not the victim as in French law , is an Irish citizen and the judges ruled that because it breached this principle of reciprocity, the French warrant for Mr Bailey was invalid.

Speaking on Newstalk Radio on Friday, Mr Spilliaert acknowledged as much when he was asked if he had any concerns about the possibility of the latest extradition bid failing on foot of the Supreme Court ruling in the previous extradition case against Mr Bailey.

“Yes, it’s very likely that the trial will be in abstentia without Mr Bailey present which will be very frustrating for the family, but at least there is a trial. It is important for the family to have a place where all the evidence be exposed and the tribunal can hear arguments to solve this case.”

Mr Spilliaert said that both Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family and he as their legal advisor were resigned to the fact that it was highly unlikely that Mr Bailey would attend the trial which is expected to take place next year in Paris.

An English journalist, Mr Bailey, (59) was twice arrested for questioning about the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier at her holiday home at Drinane, Toormore near Schull in December 1996 but he has always protested his innocence and denied ever making any admissions that he killed her.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times