On Monday 16 December, Ian Bailey was arrested and subsequently granted bail after the High Court in Dublin gave effect to a European Arrest Warrant (“EAW”) issued by French Authorities. This is the third warrant issued for Mr Bailey’s extradition in relation to the 1996 murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Co Cork. Mr Bailey was convicted in his absence of the murder by a three-judge assize court in Paris earlier this year, and sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment.
Mr Bailey, who lives in a cottage a few miles from where Ms Toscan du Plantier’s body was discovered, has always denied any involvement in the crime. The detectives who initially investigated the murder were convinced of Mr Bailey’s guilt, but prosecutors concluded that the available evidence was circumstantial and insufficient to charge him. There was no forensic evidence at the scene and following the initial investigation, one witness retracted her statement stating that she had been subject to improper police pressure.
French law allows for a person accused of murdering a French citizen in another jurisdiction, to be tried in France and so when the Irish authorities declined to prosecute Mr Bailey, French authorities brought proceedings in Paris. However, as Mr Bailey was tried in absentia, under French law, he is entitled to a second trial in France where he is in attendance and represented by defence lawyers.
In the present proceedings, Mr Bailey’s lawyers objected to the endorsement of the EAW on the grounds that the High Court had already ruled against his extradition to France in 2017. The court had ruled the 2017 attempt an abuse of process and it was argued that an endorsement of the fresh EAW would amount to a further abuse of process.
Lawyers for the Requesting State argued that the new EAW should be effected on the grounds that the law in this area has changed since 2017, and Mr Bailey has in the meantime been convicted of murder in France. The Irish court agreed, endorsing the warrant. A full extradition hearing is to be scheduled with Mr Bailey next returning to court on 20 January 2020.