Bailey to be extradited
Published 18/03/2011 | 11:40
Former journalist Ian Bailey faces extradition to France for questioning over the murder of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, the High Court ruled today.
Manchester-born Bailey is wanted by officials in Paris over the killing of Ms Toscan du Plantier, who was violently beaten to death in west Cork 14 years ago.
In a brief hearing, a judge in Dublin's High Court ruled he would make an order for his surrender to authorities in France.
Ms Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found dead outside her holiday home at Toormore, near Schull, Co Cork, two days before Christmas 1996.
Bailey, who has denied any involvement in her death, was arrested twice over the murder but never charged.
The 53-year-old launched a legal battle against his extradition after a European Arrest Warrant was issued by police in France.
An investigating magistrate, Patrick Gachon, was appointed in Paris to conduct an inquiry into Ms Toscan du Plantier's death after the DPP in Ireland announced nobody would be charged following the garda investigation.
Under French law, authorities can investigate the suspicious death of a citizen abroad but they cannot compel witnesses to go to Paris for questioning.
Bailey, a tall, well-dressed man, showed no emotion at the court ruling and left the packed courtroom quietly with his "life partner" Jules Thomas, a Welsh woman who has stood by him over the years.
As he handed out a lengthy 54-page judgment to the court, Mr Justice Michael Peart ordered a stay on Bailey's extradition until Tuesday - giving his legal team time to decide if they want to appeal against his decision to Ireland's Supreme Court.
Barristers for Bailey had argued there was no new evidence against his client and the process was an abuse of powers.
But the judge ruled there was no evidence that Bailey faces a real risk of an unfair trial in France.
"This court must, and does, presume the rights of accused persons are protected under French law to the standard required under the Convention (European Convention on Human Rights)," said Mr Justice Peart.
"That presumption underpins the arrangements for surrender between member states under the framework decision, and has not been displaced by the evidence adduced on this application."