herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

New bid for Bailey extradition after murder conviction

Journalist Ian Bailey
Journalist Ian Bailey

France will seek the extradition of British freelance journalist Ian Bailey after his conviction in Paris for the 1996 murder in Ireland of mother-of-one Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The move threatens to place the Irish and French on a judicial and diplomatic collision course.

The EU judiciary potentially faces the first extradition case in which a person was convicted of murder in one European country for a crime committed in another.

Ireland has been warned by Ms Toscan du Plantier's family that it must fully comply with European agreements for judicial co-operation.

Refused

Any failure to comply will see the family press for France to take formal action against Ireland at EU level.

In 2012, the Supreme Court here refused to extradite Mr Bailey (62) to France for questioning by Paris prosecutors.

In 2015, a second French European Arrest Warrant did not progress beyond the High Court.

However, the Paris authorities will now seek Mr Bailey's extradition on the basis that, under French law, he is a convicted murderer.

Mr Bailey said he understood the latest warrant was forwarded to Dublin by the French authorities on Friday evening.

However, because of the June bank holiday weekend, nothing is expected to happen before tomorrow morning.

"The knock on the door [from gardai] could come at any time," Mr Bailey said.

He is occupying his time making bodhrans, and said he had tried to keep life "as normal as possible".

He has attended farmers' markets in west Cork as part of a routine established years ago, and said he had been deeply touched by the support of many local people convinced of his innocence.

"There are people [in authority] in Ireland who are fully aware of the fact I am innocent, but those devils have remained silent," he said.

Victory

Judge Frederique Aline imposed a 25-year prison sentence at the Cour d'Assises on Friday for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier (39) near her holiday home in West Cork.

Her son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, called it "a victory for justice".

A group that is supporting the family, founded by Ms Toscan du Plantier's uncle, warned the Irish authorities to adhere to their judicial commitments.

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