Friday 24 March 2017

Bailey able to appeal extradition in Sophie death case

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

SELF-confessed murder suspect Ian Bailey yesterday protested his innocence once again after he secured a Supreme Court appeal against his extradition to France.

The extradition of Mr Bailey to France -- after the DPP's decision not to pursue a prosecution in Ireland -- was a matter of exceptional public importance, the High Court ruled

The postgraduate law student sighed in relief as he was remanded on continuing bail by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

Mr Bailey, who hopes to complete a masters in law next year, is challenging his extradition to France, where he is wanted for questioning over the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Ms Toscan du Plantier (39) was found dead outside her holiday home at Toormore, near Schull in west Cork, two days before Christmas in 1996.

Former journalist Mr Bailey, who has denied any involvement in the unsolved killing, was arrested twice over the murder but has never been charged.

Detective Sergeant Jim Kirwan of the garda extradition unit was on standby yesterday to arrest Mr Bailey and place him into custody if he had not been granted a certificate to bring his appeal to the Supreme Court.

Yesterday the judge ruled that one of three points of law advanced by Mr Bailey's legal team was a ground for appeal.

The extradition of a non-Irish citizen from Ireland to France, for an alleged murder committed in Ireland, is unprecedented in Irish and European law.

The judge, who told Mr Bailey that he will have to be bailed on fresh terms for the duration of his appeal, said the extradition to France after the DPP decided not to pursue a prosecution in Ireland was of exceptional public importance.

Speaking after the ruling, Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, protested his client's innocence. He claimed the Toscan du Plantier family is misguided in its view that his client had anything to do with the death.

Targeted

"I'm satisfied he is innocent," said Mr Buttimer. "I have looked at this case from every particular point of view that I can. I believe, and I've said it publicly, he's been targeted, he's been selected and he continues to be selected as the person who committed the crime, which he did not.

"He has had an extremely difficult life since this crime and since he's been associated with it," he added.

He must file a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court before tomorrow. There is a three-year backlog of cases before the court but legal experts say that the case could be heard within a year.

Irish Independent

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