Friday 22 September 2017

France has no right to ask for my extradition, claims Bailey

Ian Bailey with
his partner
Jules Thomas
outside the
Supreme Court this week. Photo: Courtpix
Ian Bailey with his partner Jules Thomas outside the Supreme Court this week. Photo: Courtpix
Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Tim Healy and Lyndsey Telford

FRANCE has no right to extradite Ian Bailey in connection with the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier -- because the DPP decided not to prosecute him here, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.

The court heard arguments from Mr Bailey's counsel Garrett Simons, who claimed that the French legal system has no right to exercise authority over the case in Ireland. He argued that France should not be able to extradite a citizen in a case where, if reversed, Ireland could not do the same in France.

Mr Bailey (54), a former journalist, is wanted for questioning by a French investigating judge in connection with the murder of Ms Du Plantier on December 23, 1996. He has continued to deny any involvement in the death of the 39-year-old French film-maker -- and has never been prosecuted.

Ms Du Plantier's body was discovered near her holiday home in Schull, Co Cork.

Mr Bailey was in court yesterday with his partner Jules Thomas for the appeal that is scheduled to run for three days.

Mr Bailey is a British citizen and Mr Simons argued that in the hypothetical case of a British citizen allegedly murdering an Irish citizen in France, Ireland would not have the power to extradite him.

He said the appeal was based on the idea of reciprocity, as defined under section 44 of the of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003.

Mr Simons added that Irish law is centred on the citizenship of the accused, while French law focuses on the citizenship of the victim. But senior counsel for the state, Robert Barron, argued that the principle of reciprocity was not part of the framework of the act in question. These arguments were outlined before the High Court last March, when Mr Bailey's extradition was ordered.

It's believed fresh evidence, regarding allegations that garda officers mishandled the initial investigation following the discovery of Ms Toscan du Plantier's body, will emerge during this week's hearing.

Mr Bailey's lawyers said documents they received from the State last November show that the garda investigation was botched, meaning France's grounds to request an extradition are unfounded.

The documents include comments from former Director of Public Prosecutions Eamonn Barnes, describing the investigation as prejudiced. Mr Simons is expected to present a statement from Attorney General Maire Whelan, in which she described Mr Barnes's claims as significant.

The hearing continues today.

Irish Independent

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