Thursday 21 November 2019

Bailey extradition case delayed

Murder suspect's surrender will affect every person in State, court hears

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

DETECTIVES poised to arrest murder suspect Ian Bailey left the Four Courts empty-handed yesterday as a judge delayed a decision on allowing him to bring his extradition battle to the Supreme Court.

Two plain-clothes senior gardai attended the High Court on standby to arrest Mr Bailey yesterday.

Meanwhile, his lawyers, who need permission from the High Court to mount any Supreme Court appeal, warned that his surrender to France would have implications for every citizen in the State.

Mr Bailey is wanted for questioning over the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Schull, Co Cork, in 1996.

He has twice been arrested by gardai, but has never been charged, despite a series of reviews by the office of the DPP.

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

Mr Justice Michael Peart adjourned the case until April 13, when Mr Bailey will be immediately arrested if he is not granted a certificate to bring his case to the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, Martin Giblin SC, for Mr Bailey, argued that the recent ruling ordering his extradition means that anyone who knocks down a French tourist in Ireland in a road traffic accident could face criminal proceedings in the victim's home country -- even if the authorities here did not believe there was a case to be prosecuted.

"Everyone is potentially in the firing line," said Mr Giblin.

He added that the High Court ruling that Mr Bailey be extradited was of unprecedented importance, and not just confined to the "unique" circumstances surrounding Mr Bailey.

Mr Bailey, a Manchester-born law student, who has been further remanded on bail, is sought under French laws that allow the authorities there to investigate, prosecute and put on trial an accused in relation to the murder of a French citizen, even where it occurs outside France.


Mr Giblin criticised the conduct of France in Africa and other areas and argued that Irish citizens had not been treated fairly by the French authorities in previous situations.

The ability of the French authorities to investigate and prosecute offences outside of France is very extensive and the Irish courts should scrutinise it carefully, he said.

Rejecting Mr Bailey's grounds for an appeal, lawyers for the State argued that Mr Bailey had not raised any points of law that were of exceptional public importance.

Robert Barron SC, for the State, said that the grounds advanced by Mr Bailey amounted to "an attack" on the system of European Arrest Warrants.

The French authorities have stated in their warrant seeking Mr Bailey's extradition that "serious and convincing clues" were accumulated against Mr Bailey during the course of the garda investigation.

Investigating Judge Patrick Gachon has indicated that there is sufficient evidence against Mr Bailey to warrant further criminal prosecution.

Irish Independent

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