Tuesday 24 October 2017

Bailey excused from hearing ahead of final-year law exams

Ralph Riegel and Aodhan O Faolain

FORMER freelance journalist Ian Bailey has been excused from a court appearance this week because he is studying for his final-year law exams.

During a hearing on Saturday, he made an application that he be excused from personally attending the court this Wednesday because he's preparing for exams at University College Cork in a fortnight.

The application was granted by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

The 53-year-old returned to his west Cork home within hours of his release by the High Court last Saturday.

Mr Bailey had been arrested at midnight last Friday by detectives after the High Court endorsed a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the French as part of their probe into the brutal 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39).


Mr Bailey was preparing for his exams in the home he shares with his partner, Welsh artist Jules Thomas, at the Prairie, Liscaha, Schull in west Cork, when Dublin-based gardai called to execute the warrant.

Ms Thomas warned that the French and Irish authorities were once again intent on pursuing the wrong person.

"They are still making a big mistake," she said.

Ms Thomas revealed that a French reporter had alerted the couple to the imminent arrest on Friday afternoon.

"We received a phone call from a French reporter and that was the first we had heard about it," she said.

"When they (detectives) called, we were half-expecting it -- but forewarned is forearmed," she told TV3.

Mr Bailey was detained in Bandon garda station overnight for 10 hours, before being driven to Dublin to appear before a special sitting of the High Court on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Justice Michael Peart -- who endorsed the EAW on Friday -- granted bail to Mr Bailey.

The French warrant seeks Mr Bailey's extradition for the alleged "wilful homicide and serious assault and battery" of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

The French mother of one was discovered battered to death on the laneway to her isolated holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull, on December 23, 1996.

Mr Bailey was detained on February 10, 1997, and January 27, 1998, by gardai for questioning -- but was released without charge on both occasions.

Mr Bailey had reported on the du Plantier killing for a number of Irish, British and French publications.

He has always maintained his innocence and he repeatedly claimed that sinister attempts were being made to frame him for the killing.

Despite one of the biggest murder hunts in the history of the State, no one has ever been charged with the crime in Ireland. However, the French launched a new probe into the killing three years ago.

Since then, the victim's body has been exhumed and French authorities have been given the garda murder file and the original post-mortem report.

Mr Bailey's legal team has vowed to "vigorously contest" the EAW and French extradition bid, which was confirmed on April 8.

Gardai said they did not regard Mr Bailey as "a major flight risk" but still applied for a €30,000 bail surety.

However, that was rejected by Mr Justice Peart and Mr Bailey was released on bail of his own bond of €15,000 and was directed to continue to live at Liscaha. He also has to surrender his passport and to sign on at Bantry garda station once a week.

Irish Independent

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