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Saturday 22 July 2017

Bailey extradition 'an insult to the Irish State'

Ian Bailey pictured arriving at the High Court in Dublin today. Photo: PA
Ian Bailey pictured arriving at the High Court in Dublin today. Photo: PA

The extradition of former journalist Ian Bailey to France for questioning over a murder is an insult to the Irish state and legal system, it was claimed today.

A barrister for Mr Bailey told the High Court in Dublin there was no new evidence against his client, who is fighting the case on grounds it infringes his human and legal rights.

Mr Bailey is wanted by the French authorities for questioning over the killing of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier 14 years ago.

The 39-year-old French woman was beaten to death outside her holiday home at Toormore, near Schull in west Cork, Ireland, two days before Christmas in 1996.

Martin Giblin, senior counsel for Mr Bailey, said the request to surrender his client was an insult in a legal sense.

"It's an insult to the Irish legal system, an insult to the Irish statem and a profound insult to his statutory constitutional human rights and it would be an insult to justice to surrender in a general sense," he added.

Manchester-born Bailey worked as a journalist in Gloucester and Cheltenham before moving to Ireland in 1991.

The 53-year-old was arrested twice over the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier but never charged. He has denied any involvement in her death.

More than two years ago, investigating magistrate Patrick Gachon was appointed by authorities in Paris to conduct his own inquiry under French law into her violent death after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Ireland announced nobody would be charged.

Under French law, authorities can investigate the suspicious death of a citizen abroad but they cannot compel witnesses to go to Paris for questioning.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued earlier this year by police in France, where he is wanted for the alleged wilful homicide and serious assault and battery.

However Mr Giblin told Mr Justice Michael Peart there was no new evidence against Mr Bailey to support the extradition.

"There is no doubt the Irish authorities would not be permitted by the courts to prosecute Mr Bailey for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier without additional evidence coming to light," he said.

The barrister went on to raise concerns over differences in the legal systems in France and Ireland, where a non-Irish national could not be prosecuted for murder in a different country. French law also does not permit a suspect the right to remain silent without inference being drawn, he added.



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