Monday 27 January 2020

High Court to consider extradition of Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins
Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The High Court will today hear an application for the endorsement of a European arrest warrant for journalist Ian Bailey over the murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt adjourned a hearing yesterday after being told neither Mr Bailey nor his legal representatives were in court.

Mr Bailey did not have to be present, but his legal team had been told it could make submissions if it wanted and had been put on notice of the hearing.

The proceedings have been brought by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who is the "central authority" for dealing with extradition requests under the European Arrest Warrant Act.

It is the second time French authorities have sought to extradite Mr Bailey. A previous attempt was blocked by the Supreme Court in 2012.

The High Court heard yesterday that Mr Bailey's lawyers contacted lawyers of the minister last week asking a number of questions about the new warrant.

"In light of the correspondence I am surprised there isn't anyone present in court," said Ronan Kennedy, counsel for the minister.

Mr Kennedy said the application had been opened in court on March 7. Given the background to the case, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly at the time decided it would be appropriate to put the respondent on notice.

Mr Kennedy said his solicitor wrote to solicitors for Mr Bailey that day setting out that an application for endorsement had been made in court and inviting them to attend and make any application if they wished.

He said a response from a solicitor for Mr Bailey was received on March 15.

However, he said that unless directed by the court, he would not be engaging with queries raised by Mr Bailey's solicitors.

Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the proceedings until today when the court will hear submissions.

Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier's murder.

She was found bludgeoned to death outside her west Cork holiday home in December 1996.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested for the murder, but never charged and no one has been prosecuted for the killing.

French authorities launched their own inquiry under laws allowing for the investigation of murders of French nationals outside of France.

A Paris magistrate issued a fresh arrest warrant last August.

Irish Independent

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