Tuesday 23 April 2019

Bailey arrested as French authorities up extradition bid

JOURNALIST Ian Bailey has been arrested in a bid to extradite him to France for questioning about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey (53) was taken into Garda custody last night on foot of a European Arrest Warrant endorsed earlier by the High Court.

He was due to be brought before the court today for a formal hearing in the attempt to have him extradited.

The former freelance journalist is believed to have been at his home in Schull, west Cork, when gardai arrested him.

The arrest was carried out by Dublin-based officers of the Garda Extradition Section, with the assistance of local gardai.

He was taken to Bandon Divisional Garda Headquarters where he remained overnight.

The arrest came after a High Court endorsement of the warrant yesterday morning on foot of the presentation of original documentation sought by the High Court judge.

Lawyers from the Chief State Solicitors Office went before Mr Justice Michael Peart and presented him with the arrest warrant issued last month by French magistrate, Judge Patrick Gachon.

The arrest is likely to trigger a protracted legal battle as Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, has indicated his client will vigorously contest the validity of the warrant and any and all attempts to extradite him to France.

Mr Buttimer said earlier this month that if Mr Bailey lost in the High Court, he would appeal to the Supreme Court as he believed granting a warrant in such circumstances would raise broader constitutional issues.

It remains unclear whether the High Court hearing on the European Arrest Warrant will be in Cork or Dublin.

Manchester-born Bailey has denied any involvement in the 1996 murder of Ms du Plantier, a French film producer.

Although twice arrested by gardai in connection with the killing, Mr Bailey was released without charge on both occasions. He has admitted being a suspect but has always maintained his innocence.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39), the wife of the late film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, was bludgeoned to death outside her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull, Co Cork.

The case went on to become one of the most high-profile unsolved murders in the history of the State. Mr Justice Peart had refused to make a decision on the warrant last week as he had only been supplied with a copy of it.

The arrest was made shortly before midnight and Mr Bailey was taken into custody in Bandon at 1am.

Friends and relatives of Sophie have reacted cautiously to the dramatic developments.

Jean-Antoine Bloc-Daude, the vice president of a campaign group set up to discover the truth about her murder, said it was too early for them to comment in detail.

"We have heard what happened, but must now wait to see what happens next," he told the Herald.


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