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Ireland has become safe haven for man fighting extradition to France, court told

Ian Bailey is facing a third extradition process to France where he is facing a 25-year prison sentence over the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

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Ian Bailey is wanted by French authorities (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ian Bailey is wanted by French authorities (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ian Bailey is wanted by French authorities (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland has become a “safe haven” for Ian Bailey who is fighting extradition to France, despite a Supreme Court ruling which prohibited the surrender of the Englishman, a court has heard.

Mr Bailey is facing a third extradition process to France, where he is facing a 25-year prison sentence after being convicted in his absence of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Barrister for the State Robert Barron told the court that despite Mr Bailey’s ongoing legal battles, Ireland has become a safe haven for him.

He said the French authorities have been seeking his extradition for the past few years.

Mr Barron said: “Ireland has become a safe haven in a bizarre way for Mr Bailey because he can’t travel outside Ireland to anywhere in the European Union at the risk of being arrested.

“He has not surrendered to the French authorities. We have a situation where the French authorities and the family of Du Plantier feel they have not achieved justice.”

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Ian Bailey, who is wanted by French authorities investigating the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork, arrives at the High Court in Dublin for an extradition hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ian Bailey, who is wanted by French authorities investigating the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork, arrives at the High Court in Dublin for an extradition hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Ian Bailey, who is wanted by French authorities investigating the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork, arrives at the High Court in Dublin for an extradition hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Justice Paul Burns suggested to the court that Mr Bailey was worried that if he ever left his home in Ireland, he would risk being arrested again and having another legal case to add to his existing one.

Mr Barron said he had sympathy for Mr Bailey having to miss his mother’s funeral in 2013 as he could not travel but questioned how this amounted to abuse of process as outlined by Mr Bailey’s defence.

Ronan Munro told the High Court on Thursday that another attempt to extradite his client was an “abuse of process”.

He said the court should put a “stop to this” and let Mr Bailey get on with his life and allow the gardai to get on with their job.

He told the court that there was “little consideration” given to the prejudicial effects and impact on Mr Bailey by the French authorities.

Mr Bailey, 63, was arrested last year after a High Court judge endorsed a European Arrest Warrant issued by French authorities.

He is wanted in France for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier in Schull, Co Cork, in December 1996.

Bailey, with an address at The Prairie in Schull, was convicted of murder in his absence by a court in Paris in May last year.

The three-judge court imposed a 25-year sentence.

He had no legal representation for the case, did not attend the court and described it at the time as a farce.

He denies any involvement in the French woman’s death.

The case continues on Friday afternoon.

PA