Belfast Telegraph

Irish judge rejects French bid to extradite Ian Bailey over 1996 murder

By Tim Healy

The High Court in Dublin has refused to order the extradition of former journalist Ian Bailey to France in relation to the murder of a filmmaker in the Republic.

Mr Bailey (60), of Schull in west Cork, denies any involvement in the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

She was found dead outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996.

French authorities previously sought the surrender of Mr Bailey in 2010 but this application was refused by the Supreme Court in 2012.

A second extradition request was submitted last summer, seeking the surrender of Mr Bailey for alleged voluntary homicide.

The penalty for the offence is up to 30 years in jail.

The French authorities have previously prosecuted people for crimes committed against French citizens outside of France.

Mr Bailey, who claims Garda tried to frame him for the killing of Ms du Plantier, could be tried in France in his absence.

Refusing the surrender of Mr Bailey to the French authorities yesterday, Mr Justice Tony Hunt described it as an "abuse of process".

A five-judge panel of the Republic's Supreme Court refused to surrender Mr Bailey in 2012.

Four of the five judges upheld Mr Bailey's argument that section 44 prohibits surrender because the alleged offence was committed outside French territory and Irish law does not allow prosecution for the same offence when committed outside its territory by a non-Irish citizen.

Opposing surrender at a High Court hearing in May, counsel for Mr Bailey, Garrett Simons SC, said there was "no way around" the Supreme Court decision in 2012.

Speaking outside court, Mr Bailey said: "Obviously I'm pleased and delighted with the judgment of the judge today and I thank Judge Hunt for that judgment."

He continued that he did not know if the French would go ahead with a trial in his absence, although he expected the decision to be appealed.

When asked if he had a message to the French, Mr Bailey said: "I have always said, I'm very sympathetic to the family and I know that they believe for whatever reason that I had something to do with the death of their daughter, and I'm very sympathetic, but I had nothing to do with it. I can't say very much more than that."

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