Hearing on Ian Bailey’s proposed extradition to France opens


A request for the extradition of Ian Bailey to France for the third time, where he faces a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of director Sophie Toscan du Plantier, is “an abuse of process,” his lawyers told the High Court.

Ronan Munro SC, on behalf of Mr. Bailey, argued that his client had an “absolute right” not to be handed over to France and that he had not been threatened in any way by subsequent legal developments.

This is the third time that the French authorities have requested the surrender of Mr. Bailey following the death of Mrs. du Plantier, whose severely beaten body was found outside her vacation home in Schull in December 1996.

Mr. Bailey (63), domiciled in The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, West Cork, was found guilty of the murder of the Frenchwoman by a Paris court in May 2019. The Court of Assizes to three judges in Paris accordingly , he imposed a 25-year prison sentence on Mr. Bailey in his absence. The Englishman, who denies any implication in the death of his mother, did not appear before the French court and was not represented by a lawyer within the framework of the procedure which he described as “farce”.

Mr. Bailey was arrested at the Palace of Criminal Justice on the basis of a European arrest warrant in December 2019. He was placed in pre-trial detention after a judge of the High Court subsequently approved the third warrant European judgment (EAW) requesting his extradition to France.

A three-day hearing, during which he will contest the postponement request, began on Wednesday before the High Court.

Opening a request for a postponement, the lawyer for the Minister of Justice, Robert Barron SC with Leo Mulrooney BL, led judge Paul Burns through the formalities of the EAW. Barron said the EAW had been completed by the French authorities, saying that Bailey had not appeared at his trial last year and that he would be entitled to a new trial if postponed.

Opposing a request for the surrender of Mr. Bailey to France, Mr. Munro stated that the central argument at the hearing was that there was a binding judgment of the Supreme Court in 2012 which prohibited the surrender of his client on the basis of article 44 of the law of 2003 on the European arrest warrant, which remains intact and intact.

Article 44 stipulates that a person must not be surrendered under this law if the offense specified in the European arrest warrant was committed in a place other than the issuing State and the the offense did not, since it was committed in a place other than the State, constitute an offense under the law of the State.

The lawyer argued that his client had an “absolute right” as well as an “absolute right” not to be handed over to France.

Munro argued that the state’s legal submissions stated that the 2012 Supreme Court decision could be distinguished due to a change in law with the 2019 Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Act. in Ireland is wanted today for the murder of Ms. du Plantier in 1996, so this person would not benefit from the interpretation of section 44 due to legislative changes, “said Mr. Munro, adding that he did not did not accept this offer for a second. .

The lawyer said he “threw the gauntlet” to the counsel of the Minister of Justice, Mr. Barron, to show why a legislative change disregarded the decision of the Supreme Court. In addition, Mr. Munro said he did not accept that the 2019 Criminal Law Act had brought about a significant change.

Justice Burns intervened at this point and asked if last year’s change in law had not significantly affected the 2012 Supreme Court decision, so the High Court was bound by this. In response, Mr. Munro said so and stressed that the 2019 legislation did not seek to “dismantle” or nullify Mr. Bailey’s “acquired right” not to be sold.

Furthermore, Mr. Munro argued that a third set of proceedings and a third attempt to prosecute his client were “an abuse of process”, to which the court must apply a very high level of control. “The very fact that there is a third set of procedures is the very indicator that an abuse of process has taken place,” he said.

Mr. Munro also told the High Court that his client had signed an affidavit setting out his objections to the delivery to France as well as certain questions of fact, particularly with regard to his health. In the affidavit, Mr. Bailey stated that he had nothing to do with the murder of Ms. du Plantier and that he had been in contact with Jules Thomas for over 25 years. He spoke of his difficulty finding a job as a journalist due to the direct consequences of the false allegations made against him. He said he suffered from depressive episodes, which can manifest as epidemics on his skin, and also had panic attacks. The seriousness of the allegation, the modalities of the garda investigation and the requests for extradition put considerable pressure and unwelcome attention on him and his family, he said.

Mr. Bailey stated that although he was not subject to criminal proceedings in Ireland, he was the subject of criminal proceedings and that his reputation suffered greatly in the small rural community where he lives. He tries not to linger “on the hunt” and the poetry writing has had a cathartic effect on him, he said. His sleep patterns have been disrupted and he has a recurring dream of being arrested and locked up in a cell.

In addition, Mr Bailey said that he was very restricted and that he had been unable to travel freely since the publication of the European arrest warrant in 2010. He explained that he was unable to visit to his mother in a nursing home in the UK or to attend his funeral, he said. had been one of the cruelest aspects of this whole process. “

Mr Munro said one of the unique features of the case was that the French trial was based mainly on the “fruits” of the Garda investigation. He also mentioned that the French authorities had not sought to invite Mr Bailey to attend his trial in 2019 and that his lawyer, Frank Buttimer, had not been invited either. The lawyer said it looked strange and described it as an “unusual feature” of the trial.

Munro asked why the 2017 lawsuit was started when it must be obvious to a competent lawyer that the Supreme Court had blocked the way.

Counsel relied on the 2012 Minister of Justice Supreme Court case against Tobin, where he said that the finality of the proceedings was of fundamental importance to the administration of justice and that the courts ensure that there is no abuse in this regard.

In conclusion, Mr. Munro said that the only law mentioned in this case – the 2019 criminal law – was a flaw in the wind and that this law “was blowing in the wind”. Mr. Bailey’s stated right under section 44 prohibits his surrender to France, and nothing that has happened since then has nearly prohibited this right, he said.

French authorities previously requested the surrender of Mr. Bailey in 2010, but that request was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2012, which held that section 44 prohibited surrender because the alleged offense was committed outside French territory and Irish law did not allow prosecution for the same offense. when committed outside its territory by a non-Irish citizen.

A second French extradition request against Mr. Bailey was dismissed as an “abuse of process” by the High Court in July 2017. On this occasion, Judge Tony Hunt held that the “unique characteristics” of the ‘case justified the’ termination ‘of the proceedings. He stated that the Minister was “prevented” or prevented from obtaining a surrender order from Mr. Bailey in light of the 2012 Supreme Court judgment on identical relevant facts.

Bailey and filmmaker Jim Sheridan were in court for Wednesday’s hearing.

Munro will continue his observations when the extradition hearing continues Thursday before Justice Burns.


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