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New delays stall French bid to extradite Bailey

A JUDGMENT on whether Ian Bailey can be extradited to France for questioning over the murder of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier was further delayed yesterday.

The former journalist is wanted by authorities in Paris over the killing of Ms Toscan du Plantier, who was violently beaten to death in Schull, Co Cork, 14 years ago.

High Court judge Mr Justice Michael Peart had been due to issue a final ruling as to whether the British national could be extradited.

Mr Justice Peart said he wanted more submissions on a recent ruling that found it was not permissible to extradite a person for the purpose of an investigation.

He told the parties that since the conclusion of the Bailey case, the Supreme Court had ruled in an appeal by Swedish national Thomas Olsson who lost a legal challenge against his extradition.

Mr Olsson was extradited to Sweden in connection with armed robbery and arson offences there.

The Supreme Court ruled that there must be proof that a suspect will be charged with a crime or that there is an intention to prosecute.

A warrant issued for the purposes of the investigation of an offence alone, in circumstances where that investigation might or might not result in a prosecution, is insufficient, the court ruled.

Last night, legal sources said that the Swedish ruling could bolster Mr Bailey's chances of resisting extradition to Paris.

Under French law, authorities can investigate the suspicious death of a citizen abroad but they cannot compel witnesses to go to Paris for questioning.

This prompted the authorities there to seek Mr Bailey's surrender under the 2003 European Arrest Warrant Act.

The judge will hear submissions from both the State and Mr Bailey's legal team on February 10.

During a two-day hearing at the High Court last December, senior counsel for Mr Bailey argued that there was no new evidence against his client to support an extradition.

He also maintained that the application was an insult to the Irish State and the DPP, who has repeatedly directed that no prosecution be taken.

Ms Du Plantier (39) was found dead outside her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull, two days before Christmas 1996.

Mr Bailey (53) was arrested twice over her murder, but never charged. He denies any involvement in her death.

Irish Independent