Friday 18 October 2019

'Knock on the door could come at any time' - Bailey waits for extradition bid

Prepared: Ian Bailey says he is expecting an attempt to extradite him to France. Photo: Mark Condren
Prepared: Ian Bailey says he is expecting an attempt to extradite him to France. Photo: Mark Condren

Ralph Riegel

Ian Bailey could be the subject of an extradition request within 24 hours following his murder conviction in France.

Mr Bailey (62), a British freelance journalist living in Ireland, was convicted in his absence of the 1996 murder of mother-of-one Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) in Co Cork.

He said yesterday he understood the French authorities' latest extradition request was sent to Dublin on Friday.

"The knock on the door [from gardaí] could come at any time," he said.

The extradition move threatens to put the Irish and French authorities on a judicial and diplomatic collision course.

It could potentially involve the first extradition case of its kind, in which a person was convicted of murder in one European country but with the crime having occurred in another EU member state.

Murdered: Sophie was found dead near her holiday home
Murdered: Sophie was found dead near her holiday home

Ireland has already been warned by the family of Ms Toscan du Plantier that it must fully comply with existing European agreements for judicial co-operation.

Any failure to do so will see the family press for France to take formal action against Ireland at EU level.

In 2012, the Supreme Court refused to extradite Mr Bailey to France for questioning.

In 2015, a second French European Arrest Warrant (EAW) did not progress beyond the High Court.

However, the Paris authorities will now seek Mr Bailey's extradition on the basis that, under French law, he is a convicted murderer.

Mr Bailey said he understood the latest warrant was sent by Paris prosecutors on Friday.

However, because of the June Bank Holiday weekend, nothing is expected to happen before tomorrow morning.

Mr Bailey - who now occupies his time making bodhráns - said he has tried to keep life "as normal as possible".

He has attended farmers' markets near his home in Co Cork as part of a routine established for years - and said he was deeply touched by the support of many locals who believe that he is innocent.

"There are people [in authority] in Ireland who are fully aware of the fact I am innocent. But those devils have remained silent," he said.

Judge Frederique Aline of the Cour d'Assises imposed a 25-year prison sentence on him last Friday.

Ms Toscan du Plantier's son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, said that it was "a victory for justice".

The group set up to support the family, ASSOPH, founded by Ms Toscan du Plantier's uncle, Jean-Pierre Gazeau, warned the Irish authorities that they would be expected to adhere to judicial commitments under European law.

Manchester-born Mr Bailey has always protested his innocence of the killing in west Cork on December 23, 1996.

Ms Toscan du Plantier was battered to death on the lane leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull.

Gardaí arrested Mr Bailey for questioning over the killing in 1997 and 1998 but he was released without charge on both occasions.

Mr Bailey dismissed the French prosecution as "a show trial" and "farcical", claiming: "I was convicted in France even before the trial opened."

His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, also slated the Paris prosecution as "a gross miscarriage of justice".

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News