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Ireland is Ian Bailey's 'bizarre safe haven', court hears

   

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Ian Bailey has labelled the court proceedings ‘a farce’. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Ian Bailey has labelled the court proceedings ‘a farce’. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Ian Bailey has labelled the court proceedings ‘a farce’. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Lawyers for the State have told the High Court that "in a bizarre way" Ireland has become a "safe haven" for Ian Bailey, who is facing a 25-year prison sentence in France for the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Counsel for the Justice Minister, Mr Robert Barron SC, yesterday told the High Court that the family of Ms du Plantier feel they have not achieved justice.

Mr Barron said the court had a "prima facie" obligation to surrender Mr Bailey and there was a strong public interest in surrendering the Englishman, who has been suspected for 24 years of killing the mother-of-one. He said there was a risk of losing sight of this.

This is the third time French authorities are seeking Mr Bailey's surrender in relation to the death of Ms du Plantier, whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996.

The former journalist (63), with an address at The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, west Cork, was convicted of the French woman's murder in his absence in a Paris court in May 2019. The three-judge Cour d'assises (criminal trial court) in Paris accordingly imposed a 25-year prison sentence on Mr Bailey in his absence. Mr Bailey, who denies any involvement in Ms du Plantier's death, did not attend the French court and had no legal representation in the proceedings, which he has described as a "farce".

Mr Bailey was arrested at the Criminal Courts of Justice building on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in December 2019. He was remanded on bail after a High Court judge subsequently endorsed the third EAW seeking his extradition to France.

Mr Justice Paul Burns reserved judgment and said he would deliver it on October 12.

Irish Independent