High Court endorses warrant seeking extradition of Ian Bailey to France over murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier
Mr Justice Donald Binchy this afternoon endorsed the warrant
Ian Bailey was arrested on Monday for the fifth time in 23 years over the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
The French socialite and TV producer, 39, was beaten to death outside her West Cork holiday home two days before Christmas in 1996.
A High Court judge endorsed a European Arrest Warrant seeking Mr Bailey’s arrest and extradition to France.
The 62-year-old, an English-born former journalist and now market trader, has been left “devastated and traumatised,” by his latest arrest, his lawyer told the Irish Mirror.
Solicitor Frank Buttimer said: “This is a grotesque persecution. This has been going on for 23 years. It is an outrage.”
“What has happened to Ian Bailey puts Julian Assange in the halfpenny place.”
Mr Bailey, of The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, West Cork, has always maintained his innocence over the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier.
Mr Buttimer said his client’s life had been ruined for 23 years – a third of his life.
He added: “People have to realise how devastating this is for Ian Bailey. People have this idea that he is used to this. He is not. He is in trauma.”
“He has been persecuted by this State and by the French State for nearly 23 years. It is a persecution. It is a devastating state of affairs to be persecuted for a crime he hasn’t committed.”
Yesterday following the endorsement of the European Arrest Warrant by Mr Justice Donald Binchy, Mr Bailey was arrested outside a courtroom at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.
He was then brought back before the High Court where Det Sgt Jim Kirwan of the Garda Extradition Unit gave evidence of arrest.
Mr Bailey was then remanded on bail to appear before the court again on January 20, 2020, for a full hearing.
Filmmaker Jim Sheridan was in court during the application.
The six-time Oscar nominee is working on a documentary tentatively titled In Abstentia.
The name is a reference to Mr Bailey’s conviction in France earlier this year.
He was absent when a court found him guilty of murder earlier this year and sentenced him to 25 years.
Det Sgt Kirwan said he arrested Mr Bailey at 2.34pm yesterday at the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street, Dublin.
The garda added he gave Mr Bailey copies of the European Arrest Warrant in English and French.
Det Sgt Kirwan said he asked Mr Bailey if he knew what the arrest was about.
He replied: “Yes I do. I just want to say I had nothing to do with this crime.”
Mr Bailey was remanded on bail on his own bond of €15,000 without lodgement.
He must stay at the address provided to the court and surrender his expired [British] passport and not leave the Republic without court approval.
Det Sgt Kirwan agreed with Ronan Munro SC, for Mr Bailey, that Mr Bailey lives “very visibly in Cork” and is “easy to keep an eye on”.
The lawyer told the court that endorsing the warrant would simply expose the former journalist to another abuse of process.
He raised a 2017 High Court judgment by Mr Justice Tony Hunt when the second French request for Mr Bailey’s extradition was dismissed as an “abuse of process”.
The judge stated the “unique features” of the case justified “termination” of the proceedings.
Lawyers for the State said the law had changed since that decision and argued that, in the interim, Mr Bailey had been convicted in his absence in France of murder.
Mr Justice Binchy said yesterday he was “satisfied to endorse the warrant” following the change in the law and Mr Bailey’s conviction, in absence, in France.
Monday’s endorsement of the warrant marks the third time that French authorities have sought Mr Bailey’s surrender.
After the hearing, Mr Buttimer told the Irish Mirror:“I am ashamed of this happening in our country. Ian Bailey is an English guy living in Ireland.
“If this was happening to an Irish guy living in Britain there would be uproar.”
Mr Buttimer said that as far back as 2008 the Director of Public Prosecutions decided there was absolutely no case against Ian Bailey.
“The evidence against him was, in the words of the DPP, ‘thoroughly flawed and prejudiced’.”