Fax delays action on warrant for arrest of Bailey
A DECISION on whether the High Court in Dublin is to endorse a European arrest warrant for the extradition of Ian Bailey to France was delayed again yesterday.
The State must now seek the original warrant from the French authorities rather than the faxed copy placed before the court.
The order for the original document was issued by Mr Justice Michael Peart who said that, as a result of a recent amendment to legislation governing the European arrest warrants, the court was no longer able to endorse a "true or facsimile copy".
Mr Bailey is being sought for questioning by a French magistrate about the murder of Sophie Tuscan du Plantier, who was bludgeoned to death while on holiday in west Cork in December 1996.
The 53-year-old former freelance journalist and current law student at UCC was arrested and questioned twice by gardai in 1997 and 1998.
A garda file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who decided against criminal charges being brought against Mr Bailey.
He has consistently proclaimed his innocence and his solicitor, Frank Buttimer has said his client will vigorously oppose the French move.
The warrant for his arrest was issued by Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon last month.
Mr Justice Peart said what was before the court was "a photocopy of a certified copy of the European arrest warrant", which had been faxed to authorities here. He said the provision allowing for a "true copy" of a warrant to be endorsed was "gone" and that this deletion was very specific.
In light of such a legal change, the judge said the court was not prepared to endorse a photocopy of the warrant.
Mr Patrick McGrath, for the State, agreed that the difficulty was "insuperable".
The issue was adjourned and the State will now apply to the French magistrate for the original document to be sent here.
The warrant cannot be served by the gardai on Mr Bailey until it has been endorsed by the High Court.
The legal process could go all the way to the Supreme Court, and possibly the European courts, before it is finally determined and lawyers reckon this could take up to a year to be resolved.
During the court hearing Mr Bailey was not mentioned by name but legal sources confirmed that the warrant referred to his case.