Fitzgerald 'insulting Supreme Court' with Bailey bid
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is insulting the Irish courts by seeking to go around a Supreme Court "bar" on Ian Bailey's extradition to France in relation to the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, according to lawyers for the Englishman.
Mr Bailey (60), of Liscaha, Schull, Co Cork, denies involvement in the death of Ms du Plantier, who was found dead outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996. French authorities previously sought the surrender of Mr Bailey in 2010, but this application was refused by the Supreme Court in 2012.
A second extradition request was transmitted to Ireland in recent months, seeking the surrender of Mr Bailey for alleged voluntary homicide.
Mr Bailey, who claims gardaí tried to frame him for the killing of Ms du Plantier, could be tried in France in his absence.
Opposing surrender yesterday, counsel for Mr Bailey, Garrett Simons SC, said his client had a "very straightforward and obvious case". Mr Simons said there was "no way around" the Supreme Court decision in 2012 which identified an "absolute jurisdictional bar" to Mr Bailey's extradition to France in relation to the alleged offence.
It was an "abuse of process" for the minister, who has litigated an issue all the way to the Supreme Court, to seek to litigate the issue again, Mr Simons submitted.
Counsel for the Justice Minister Robert Barron SC said there were no grounds for criticism of the minister.
Mr Barron said extradition was a process between judicial authorities and the minister's role was to produce warrants to the courts for endorsement. Once the warrant is received, it must be presented to the court for endorsement. He said the minister had no power to refuse a warrant and it had never happened, as far as he knew, before.
Mr Barron will continue making submissions before Mr Justice Tony Hunt in the High Court today.