Ian Bailey convicted of murder, in absentia, by French Court

4th Jun 2019

On 31 March 2019, a Parisian Court convicted Englishman Ian Bailey of the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier and sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment. Mrs Toscan du Plantier’s body was discovered in 1996 in West Cork, Ireland. Mr Bailey was convicted in his absence after French Authorities failed to have him extradited from Ireland to France to face prosecution for the murder.

In 2012, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that Mr Bailey could not be extradited to France to face the murder trial because the alleged murder was committed outside of the requesting state. The Irish Supreme Court ruling, in Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform v Ian Bailey [2012] 4 IR 1, was based on section 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 (Legislation of Ireland) which provides:

“[a] person shall not be surrendered … if the offence specified in the European arrest warrant issued in respect of him or her was committed or is alleged to have been committed in a place other than the issuing state and the act or omission of which the offence consists does not, by virtue of having been committed in a place other than the State, constitute an offence under the law of the State”.

This provision was enacted to incorporate article 4.7(b) of the EU Council Framework Decision of the 13 June 2002, into Irish law. Article 4.7(b) states that a judicial authority may refuse to execute a European arrest warrant where the:

“… warrant relates to offences which … have been committed outside the territory of the issuing Member State and the law of the executing Member State does not allow prosecution for the same offences when committed outside its territory”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland declined to prosecute Mr Bailey for the murder because of insufficient credible evidence to support the prosecution.
In the ruling on 31 March 2019, the French court decided to issue a new EAW to request that Mr Bailey be surrendered to France in order to serve his custodial sentence for the murder. However, the fresh extradition request will not impact on the likelihood of Mr Bailey being extradited to France because the Irish Supreme Court ruling of 2012 will still apply to any extradition hearing that takes place in an Irish court.

Categories: France, Ireland

Jasvinder Nakhwal
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Nick Vamos
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