Belfast Telegraph

Warning over French extradition bid

Extraditing a man to France for questioning over the murder of a film-maker in Ireland would have implications for every citizen in the Irish State, it has been claimed.

A barrister for British man Ian Bailey argued the ruling would mean anyone who knocks down a French tourist in Ireland could face criminal proceedings in the victim's home country.

The former journalist is wanted by officials in Paris investigating the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was violently beaten to death in Ireland more than 14 years ago.

Seeking leave to appeal an extradition order at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Bailey's barrister Martin Giblin argued there was public interest to allow his appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Giblin said the case went beyond his client as the decision would become the stark reality facing every Irish citizen in the state. He maintained any son or daughter who killed or injured a tourist in a car crash could be shipped off to France to face prosecution.

"Everyone is potentially in the firing line," he added.

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

An investigating magistrate, Patrick Gachon, was appointed in Paris to conduct an inquiry into Ms Toscan du Plantier's death after the Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland announced that nobody would be charged following a Garda investigation.

Earlier this month, Mr Justice Michael Peart ordered the Manchester-born 53-year-old to surrender to authorities in France.

The judge reserved his decision on the appeal until April 13.

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