Sunday 25 June 2017

State 'in dark' for 10 years on Sophie review

Tim Healy

A REVIEW by the DPP's office criticising the garda investigation into the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier only came to the attention of the Department of Justice 10 years after it was completed, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.

The review was provided to senior gardai in 2001 and to self-confessed murder suspect Ian Bailey's lawyers last November on the advice of the Attorney General.

Its contents are expected to be addressed by Mr Bailey's lawyers today in his continuing appeal against a High Court order for his extradition to France in connection with the December 1996 murder.

Yesterday, Robert Barron, for Justice Minister Alan Shatter, said he was told the department only became aware of the 2001 review last October.

That material was not previously sent to the DPP, Mr Barron told Mr Justice John Murray.

Another investigation, prompted by allegations made by Mr Bailey's solicitor Frank Buttimer and carried out by Assistant Garda Commissioner Ray McAndrew in 2007, was given to the department but did not include the material in this case, he said.

The 54-year-old former journalist has always denied any involvement in the murder of Ms du Plantier (39), whose body was discovered near her holiday home in Schull, Co Cork on December 23, 1996.

The French authorities have sought his surrender under a European Arrest Warrant of February 2010.

In submissions yesterday, Mr Barron argued there was no legal bar to that surrender.

He said that a European Framework Decision -- providing for extradition between member states -- allowed the State to refuse to extradite an individual to another country where they could face prosecution for a crime committed in another jurisdiction.

But, Mr Barron said, this did not mean the court was required to refuse to surrender Mr Bailey, an English national, to France.

If full effect had been given in Irish law to the provisions of that Framework Decision, there would be a bar to the extradition of Mr Bailey, but no such full effect was given, counsel submitted.

Replying for Mr Bailey, Garrett Simons argued that surrender could not be granted for the extra-territorial killing here of a French citizen by an English citizen.

The appeal continues.

Irish Independent

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