Monday 24 July 2017

Bailey will fight bid for extradition by French

Shane Phelan Investigative Correspondent

FORMER journalist Ian Bailey is to strenuously fight a bid to have him extradited to France to face charges in connection with the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

A European arrest warrant issued by French authorities in the past month is currently being considered by the Attorney General, Paul Gallagher.

A lawyer representing Mr Bailey said last night he was confident the French application would fail.

"It would be extraordinary if this application was successful given that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has already decided my client has no case to answer," solicitor Frank Buttimer told the Irish Independent.

Ms Toscan du Plantier's death in December 1996, while she was on holiday in west Cork, remains one of the most high-profile unsolved murders in the history of the State.

Bludgeoned

She was bludgeoned to death outside her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull.

Mr Bailey, who as a freelance journalist wrote about the murder in a number of publications, was arrested and questioned twice by gardai, but was never charged. Following an extensive garda review of the case, the DPP decided in 2008 that no charges should be proffered against anyone on the basis of the evidence gathered.

However, following pressure from Ms Toscan du Plantier's family and a number of influential political figures in France, Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon subsequently launched an investigation. The magistrate's investigation was possible under laws which allow French authorities to probe murders of their own nationals, even if they happen abroad. As part of this inquiry, the garda file on the case was handed over to the French authorities.

Interviews were also conducted behind closed doors in Paris with senior gardai and a number of key witnesses.

The magistrate also visited Ireland and spoke to some gardai. Mr Bailey was not asked to give evidence.

Although admitting he was a suspect, he has repeatedly denied killing the mother of one, who was married to film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier.

The Attorney General is expected to bring the matter before the High Court in the coming weeks. The court would have to decide whether the warrant should be executed.

If Mr Bailey is arrested, he plans to contest any effort to extradite him. Mr Buttimer said this would involve appeals to the Supreme Court and the European courts, if necessary.

Irish Independent

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