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Ian Bailey’s drug driving appeal hearing adjourned


Ian Bailey. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey has had his appeal against a drug driving conviction adjourned.

Cork Circuit Appeals Court, sitting in Skibbereen, adjourned hearing the appeal after an application from State Solicitor Malachy Boohig.

Judge Eoin Garavan adjourned the appeal until October 22 after Mr Boohig's application.

Mr Bailey (64) was not required to be in court and it is expected the case will be further adjourned until the New Year.

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Defence counsel Emmet Boyle BL said his client may be unable to attend the Appeals Court on October 22.

Mr Boyle was granted liberty to seek a further adjournment if the need arises.

The appeal hearing is expected to require a half a day.

Mr Bailey was convicted of drug driving by Judge John King before Bantry District Court last May following a case which took almost a year to resolve.

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months though the disqualification will only come into force after the appeal is concluded.

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Mr Bailey, who is a law graduate, last year successfully fought extradition to France over the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39).

He has consistently protested his innocence in relation to the December 23 1996 killing of the French mother of one at her west Cork holiday home.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested by gardaí in relation to the investigation in 1997 and 1998 but was released without charge on both occasions.

The Director of Public Prosecutions ruled in 2000/2001 that he did not have a case to answer.

But he was convicted in absentia by a French court of the killing in 2019, despite repeatedly claiming that attempts were made to frame him for the crime.

Mr Bailey of The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, Co Cork, described the Paris proceedings as "a farce" and "a show trial."

Three times the French have sought and failed to secure his extradition from west Cork since 2010.

The killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier attracted international attention over recent times with the release of two major documentaries on the 24 year old crime, one by Jim Sheridan for Sky TV and the other by Simon Chinn for Netflix.

Five books about one of Ireland's most notorious unsolved crimes are being published over a 12 month period.

Mr Bailey complained of the incessant public focus on him and said that, at times, it felt as if some people were "feeding on my carcass while I am still alive."

Last year Gardaí prosecuted Mr Bailey for operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis and for possession of a small quantity of cannabis.

Judge King heard detailed oral and written legal submissions on Mr Bailey's behalf from Emmet Boyle BL instructed by solicitor Ray Hennessy.

The counts all arose from an incident on August 25 2019 outside Schull.

Mr Bailey was stopped by gardaí while driving at Schull town land outside the west Cork village and was later taken to Bantry Garda Station.

He was subsequently released without charge pending the results of test samples.

Judge King last May convicted Mr Bailey on three of the four summonses involved.

"On the basis of the evidence I am entitled to convict," he said.

He disqualified Mr Bailey from driving for 12 months and fined him a total of €700.

Mr Boyle told the court Mr Bailey was a man whose "means were of the lower order."

"He lives rurally so the implications of the one year ban will weigh very heavily on him," he said.

He is not working and is currently receiving social welfare.

Judge King was asked to allow the maximum six months for payment of the fines imposed.

Mr Bailey immediately vowed that "the matter will be appealed."

The convictions included that Mr Bailey drove while under the influence of cannabis, had possession of cannabis for his own use and used his vehicle for the purpose of the transport of cannabis.

A fourth prosecution in relation to the detention and subsequent search of Mr Bailey's car was dismissed by Judge King after he upheld a defence challenge to the procedures used by gardaí.

The court previously heard a small tin of cannabis was recovered after Mr Bailey had been stopped in his Toyota Verso car by gardaí at a checkpoint.

Mr Boyle, on Mr Bailey's behalf, had challenged a number of issues in respect of the matter including how the alleged drugs were found, why the keys of Mr Bailey's car were retained by officers, why the vehicle was moved from the roadside field entrance where it was parked to the garda station and why it was only searched the following day.

Gardaí told the court samples, including a blood test, were sent for analysis after Mr Bailey was brought to the station.

The blood sample results, received on October 29 2019, showing a reading of 2.7ng/ml for D9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 1ng/ml and 19.5ng/ml for 11-nor-9-carboxy-D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 5ng/ml.

Mr Bailey has published two successful volumes of poetry and is now the focus of a number of books and two high-profile documentaries.

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