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Bailey legal fight on extradition to take three years

IAN Bailey (53) faces a three- year legal wrangle because of likely judicial proceedings in Ireland, France and the European Court over his extradition and trial.

Mr Bailey will confirm today his intention to appeal to the Supreme Court against a High Court ruling allowing him to be extradited to France in connection with a Paris-based investigation into the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) 15 years ago.

Mr Bailey's legal team previously signalled that, if necessary, they will contest the case to the European Court.

The family of Ms Toscan du Plantier now potentially faces having to wait until 2013/2014 for a final conclusion.



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Legal appeals and hearings in Ireland could last until 2012 -- with potential proceedings in France likely to take at least another 12-18 months.

A European Court challenge will stall matters still further.

Mr Bailey -- a Manchester-born former freelance journalist -- is contesting a French bid to extradite him in relation to the killing of Ms Toscan du Plantier on December 23, 1996.

The pretty mother-of-one was found battered to death at the foot of a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull in West Cork. She had attempted in vain to flee from her attacker before she was caught some 60m from her home and bludgeoned to death.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested and questioned by gardai in connection with the killing, in January 1997 and February 1998. However, he was released without charge on both occasions.

Mr Bailey has repeatedly protested his innocence and claimed that "sinister attempts" were made to frame him for the crime.

No one has ever been charged in relation to the killing.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr Bailey -- a stance that ultimately triggered a French-based probe following pressure from Ms Toscan du Plantier's family and friends.

Last Friday, Mr Justice Michael Peart in the High Court cleared the way for Mr Bailey to be extradited to France after Paris magistrate, Patrick Gachon, sought a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for him in April 2010.

Mr Justice Peart made his ruling but adjourned matters until today to allow Mr Bailey and his legal team to consider their options.

An appeal to the Supreme Court will be indicated today.

That appeal could take between six and nine months to hear with the case already being described as a landmark in Irish law. A potential appeal to the European Court after that could then take another six to nine months to resolve.

No one has ever been extradited from Ireland to another country for proceedings in relation to a crime committed in this jurisdiction.

A further complicating factor is that Mr Bailey is a British citizen and some of his friends are now urging the London authorities to adopt a "monitoring" stance over the extradition issue.



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Mr Bailey and his partner, Welsh artist Jules Thomas, spent the weekend in West Cork but avoided the media

Born in Manchester in 1957, Bailey attended Gloucester Grammar School before working for various news agencies in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

He moved to Ireland in 1991 and, after a brief period in Wicklow and Dublin, settled in West Cork.

Over the years he has worked as a freelance reporter, a fish factory employee, a 'New Age' gardener and a farmer's market stallholder before a law degree in University College Cork (UCC). He graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law honours degree from UCC.

hnews@herald.ie