Court backs French bid to extradite Bailey
A JUDGE has endorsed a French bid to extradite Ian Bailey in connection with the murder of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
The dramatic development came yesterday in the High Court when Mr Justice Michael Peart endorsed a European Arrest Warrant seeking the former journalist's detention.
It means gardai can arrest Mr Bailey (54) at any time. However, Manchester-born Bailey is to vigorously oppose extradition to France.
He has previously stated, through his legal team, that he would take challenges to the Supreme Court and to the European courts if necessary.
Although twice arrested by gardai in connection with the December 1996 murder, Mr Bailey was released without charge on both occasions.
He has admitted being a suspect but has always maintained his innocence.
Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39), the wife of the late famous film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, was bludgeoned to death outside her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull, Co Cork.
The case went on to become one of the most high-profile unsolved murders in the history of the State. Mr Justice Peart had refused to make a decision on the warrant last week as he had only been supplied with a copy of it. The State solicitor had to get the original warrant from French authorities because of a recent amendment to legislation which means the court can no longer endorse a facsimile copy.
Around 3.30pm yesterday, the solicitor produced the original and it was later signed by Mr Justice Peart.
Once gardai act upon it, Mr Bailey's legal team is expected to seek a High Court hearing on the matter.
Sources close to Mr Bailey said last night he would make no attempt to avoid arrest and was willing to make himself available to gardai.
Mr Bailey previously worked as a freelance journalist and covered the death of Ms Toscan du Plantier for a number of publications. More recently has been studying for a law degree from UCC.