IAN BAILEY (53), the man at the centre of an extradition bid by the French authorities following the killing of French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, was awarded a law degree at University College Cork yesterday.
The Englishman who lives in Schull, Co Cork, is contesting the extradition warrant issued by the French authorities. He was awarded a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL Hons) degree.
Ms Toscan du Plantier’s body was found outside her holiday home at Toormore near Schull in west Cork on the morning of December 23rd, 1996.
Although gardaí twice arrested Mr Bailey for questioning about the murder, no one has ever been charged in connection with her violent death.
Speaking at UCC yesterday Mr Bailey, who has previously worked as a journalist, admitted that at times it was difficulty to focus on his studies given the pressures of the case.
“It certainly was not made easier, but I have had great support . . . and I’d like to say that the standard of tuition in the academic fraternity here is exceptionally high.”
Mr Bailey insisted he always had an interest in studying law arising from the time he spent in the courts as a trainee journalist and that his decision was not prompted by the events of the past 10 years or more. Given the current economic climate he conceded that graduates were facing in to a tough jobs market.
“In the present climate, [for] journalists, lawyers, engineers, mechanics it’s going to be very difficult, we are heading into unknown territory and it is difficult times for everybody.”
He declined to comment on the extradition proceedings. The case is scheduled to be heard at the High Court on December 16th.