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'We' haven't forgotten Sophie', judge at Bailey hearing assures family

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Ian Bailey denies killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Ian Bailey denies killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Ian Bailey denies killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier

A High Court judge has expressed his condolences to the family of film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home in Schull nearly 24 years ago, on the second day of Ian Bailey's extradition hearing.

Addressing the court yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Burns said court hearings of any kind are distressing but the "dry nature" of these extradition proceedings should not be taken that anyone has forgotten the tragic nature of Ms du Plantier's death.

Ronan Munro SC, for Mr Bailey, also submitted to the court that it seems the European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) against his client will never stop and very little consideration has been given to the prejudicial effect on him.

He asked the judge to "put a stop to" this abuse of process and let him get on with his life.

Mr Bailey is wanted in France to face a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of Ms du Plantier. The three-day extradition hearing began on Wednesday in the High Court.

Farce

It is the third time French authorities have sought Mr Bailey's surrender in relation to the mother-of-one's death in Schull in December 1996.

The Englishman (63), of Schull, west Cork, was convicted of the murder in his absence in a Paris court in May last year.

Mr Bailey, who denies any involvement in Ms du Plantier's death, did not attend the French court and had no legal representation in the proceedings, which he has described as a "farce".

In a sworn affidavit to the High Court, Mr Bailey said he had nothing to do with the murder of Ms du Plantier.

Mr Bailey was arrested on foot of a EAW in December last year.

He was remanded on bail after a High Court judge subsequently endorsed the EAW seeking his extradition to France.

At the outset of yesterday's hearing, Mr Justice Burns expressed his condolences to the family of Ms du Plantier but pointed out that the court must deal with the law.

Opposing an application for Mr Bailey's surrender, Mr Munro argued that the French authorities lost the entitlement to mount a further attempt to extradite his client in 2017, when the High Court dismissed the second extradition request as an "abuse of process".

"This court should put a stop to it and find it's an abuse of process and let Mr Bailey get on with his life and let the police get on with their job," he added.

Mr Bailey and film-maker Jim Sheridan were in court for yesterday's hearing.