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Monday 11 December 2017

New evidence expected to reveal how Gardai mishandled du Plantier murder investigation

Lyndsey Telford

NEW evidence highlighting investigatory abuse over the murder of a French film-maker will be presented on the last day of Ian Bailey's extradition appeal.

The fourth and final ground of Bailey's case at the Supreme Court is expected to reveal how Gardai mishandled the investigation following the discovery of Sophie Toscan du Plantier's body in Co Cork in 1996.

The Department of Justice received documents reviewing the investigation last year - 10 years after it was completed.

The documents, which include criticisms of how the investigation was handled, were then passed on to Bailey's lawyers.

The 54-year-old former journalist is challenging a High Court order of his extradition to France, where he is wanted for questioning over the killing, which took place near the victim's holiday home in Schull.

Bailey has always denied any involvement in the murder and has never been prosecuted.

France wishes to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction to try to prosecute him under its own laws.

But his lawyers have argued during the appeal that France has no right to exercise such authority over Ireland, because if the situation were reversed, Ireland would not be permitted to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction over France.

Bailey's senior counsel Garrett Simons also argued that Ireland and France exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction in different ways, which would present further problems in adhering to the principle of reciprocity.

Ireland's jurisdiction centres around the citizenship of the accused, while France looks to the citizenship of the victim.

"That's a vital difference," said Mr Simons. "It illustrates that both states exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction on a completely different basis."

Mr Simons added that the principle of reciprocity is fundamental to section 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act - the point of law being considered throughout the appeal.

Senior counsel for the State Robert Barron has argued that the principle of reciprocity is not an issue in the case.

But Mr Simons argued: "Mr Barron is incorrect when he says it doesn't involve reciprocity. It does."

He also referred to the fact that Bailey is a British citizen, saying that in the hypothetical case of a British citizen allegedly murdering an Irish citizen in France, Ireland would not have the power to extradite him.

Bailey's lawyers will put it to the five-judge Supreme Court tomorrow that France's request to extradite him is a result of a botched investigation by Gardai.

They will present evidence obtained from the State last November, which includes comments from former director of public prosecutions Eamonn Barnes.

He held the position when the decision not to prosecute Bailey for Ms Toscan du Plantier's murder was made.

He is believed to have described the Gardai investigation as prejudiced and accused officers of mishandling the case.

Having examined his comments, Attorney General Maire Whelan has also weighed in on the issue, claiming that Mr Barnes' comments are significant.

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