Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Journalist 'did not murder woman'

Ian Bailey

The family of a French woman murdered in Ireland has singled out an innocent man for the crime, the suspect's solicitor has claimed.

Former journalist Ian Bailey is wanted by authorities in Paris in connection with the death of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Cork more than 14 years ago.

As the British man was granted leave to appeal his extradition to France, his solicitor Frank Buttimer maintained his client was innocent.

Outside the High Court in Dublin, he claimed members of the du Plantier family were misguided in their view Mr Bailey had anything to do with her death.

"I have looked at this case from every particular point of view that I can," said Mr Buttimer. "I believe, and I've said it publicly, he's been targeted, he's been selected and he continues to be selected as the person who committed the crime, which he did not.

"He has had an extremely difficult life since this crime and since he's been associated with it. He continues to protest his innocence."

Ms Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found dead outside her holiday home at Toormore, near Schull in west Cork, two days before Christmas in 1996.

Mr Bailey, 54, has denied any involvement in her death. He was arrested twice over the unsolved murder but never charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Ireland.

Mr Justice Michael Peart ruled one of three points of law made by Mr Bailey's legal team was of exceptional public importance and a ground for appeal to the multi-judge Supreme Court. The judge said an issue arose over a country seeking the surrender of a person for prosecution for an offence committed in Ireland under its own law when the DPP had decided not to bring charges.

Senior counsel Martin Giblin maintained anyone who killed or injured a tourist in a car crash could be shipped off to France to face prosecution - even if authorities in Ireland did not believe there was a case to be prosecuted.

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