Ian Bailey’s lawyers wonder why France took 22 years to try the Plantier murder

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Ian Bailey’s lawyers wondered why it had taken the French authorities 22 years to try the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in the absence of the Englishman.

Earlier, the judge presiding over the extradition hearing, Judge Paul Burns, extended his condolences to the family of Ms. du Plantier, whose severely beaten body was found outside her vacation home in Schull nearly 24 years.

Speaking to the court, the judge said that judicial hearings of all kinds were appalling, but the “dry nature” of these extradition procedures should not be taken for anyone to have forgotten the tragic nature of the death of Mrs. du Plantier.

Bailey is sentenced to 25 years in prison in France for the murder of Madame du Plantier and the three-day extradition hearing began Wednesday in the Irish High Court. This is the third time that the French authorities have requested the surrender of Mr. Bailey in connection with the death of the mother of one in Schull in December 1996.

The Englishman (63), domiciled in The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, West Cork, was found guilty of the murder of the Frenchwoman in his absence before a Paris court in May 2019. The Court of Assizes with three judges) in Paris therefore imposed a sentence of 25 years in prison on Mr. Bailey in his absence. Mr. Bailey, who denies any involvement in the death of Mrs. du Plantier, did not appear before the French court and was not represented by a lawyer during the proceedings, which he described as “farce”.

In an affidavit under oath in the High Court, Mr. Bailey said it had nothing to do with the murder of Madame du Plantier. He said that although he had not been prosecuted in Ireland, he had been prosecuted and his reputation had suffered greatly in the small rural community where he lived. . He tries not to dwell “on the hunt,” and writing poetry has had a cathartic effect on him, he said.

Mr. Bailey was arrested at the Palace of Criminal Justice at the foot 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.

At the start of Thursday’s hearing, Justice Burns asked if there were members of Ms. du Plantier’s family in court and a legal representative of the family raised their hands. The judge said that the nature of the extradition law may seem “cold and dry” and observed that court hearings of any kind are painful. However, the judge declared that these extradition procedures should not be taken until anyone has forgotten the tragic nature of the death of Mme du Plantier.

Justice Burns expressed condolences to Ms. du Plantier’s family, but stressed that the court must comply with the law. State attorney Ronan Munro SC said he shared his appreciation for the tragedy that had occurred.

Opposing Mr. Bailey’s request to hand over to France for a second day, Munro said it would have made no difference to his client if the 2019 Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) law s was applied in the 1990s. The lawyer argued that the French authorities had lost the right to mount a new attempt to extradite his client in 2017, when the High Court rejected the second extradition request to the against Mr. Bailey as an “abuse of process”.

Munro said the second attempt to extradite the French authorities was a “deliberate decision” and a “tactical ploy”. “Very little consideration was given to the damaging effect on Mr. Bailey which was doomed to fail and this was a direct assault on the Supreme Court decision in 2012,” continued Mr. Munro , adding that the second request basically said that the Irish Supreme Court was wrong.

The lawyer said that when “the bet” was taken to issue a second extradition request against Mr. Bailey in 2017, which the French authorities had lost, he “definitively closed the door” to future extradition requests that would be issued against him. “It was the turning point and now they have lost the right,” he added.

Munro said it looked like the EAWs against his client would never stop. “If Mr. Bailey is not treated on an equal footing, it becomes abusive and that is why we are here to restore equality and eliminate abuse,” he noted.

In summary, counsel said that the abuse of process against his client was only getting worse. “This court should end it and find that this is an abuse of process and let Mr. Bailey continue his life and let the police continue his work,” he concluded.

On Thursday afternoon, David Conlan Smyth SC, also on behalf of Mr. Bailey, invited the court to find that there had been “excessive, excessive and guilty delay” on the part of the issuing State for bring Mr. Bailey to justice, who he said remained unexplained. . He said that the French investigation had started in April 1997, when they started looking for information from Ireland. It takes a time when the time is excessive, he said.

In addition, counsel pointed out that 24 years have passed since the initiation of the criminal investigation and seven years since the Supreme Court denied Mr. Bailey’s extradition request in 2012, he said. he declares. He added that Mr. Bailey had lived openly in Ireland during this period and that he was out of the question of avoiding justice.

Mr. Conlan Smyth also argued that no explanation had been provided by the French authorities as to why it had taken 22 years to hold a trial in his absence before a Paris court.

He stated that the last EAW was doomed to failure and wondered why the trial in the absence of Mr. Bailey had taken place after the last extradition request in 2017. It was important to note that neither M Bailey and his lawyer Frank Buttimer were not contacted by the French authorities involved in the Paris trial in May 2019, he said. Buttimer said in his affidavit that he only learned from the media in 2019 that French authorities were interested in prosecuting Mr. Bailey, the lawyer said.

“When does the EAW become so oppressive and burdensome that there is a violation of the rights set out in article 6. We say that this date has long since passed. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be made, ”he said.

He also said that he was very concerned about whether witnesses would travel to France to testify at the trial proposed by Mr. Bailey in France if he were extradited and asked the court to take this matter into account when deciding if its surrender was to be authorized.

In response, the Minister’s lawyer, Robert Barron SC, declared that there was no “acquired right” not to cede to France. Yesterday, Mr. Munro argued that his client had an “absolute and absolute right” not to be handed over to France.

Mr. Barron further argued that the 2019 Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) law could be applied to alleged offenses committed before 2019. He will continue his legal submissions tomorrow.

The French authorities had previously requested the surrender of Mr. Bailey in 2010, but this request was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2012, which ruled that section 44 of the 2003 European Arrest Warrant Act prohibited the surrender because the alleged offense was committed outside French territory and Irish law had done so. not authorize prosecution for the same offense committed outside its territory by a non-Irish citizen. Mr. Bailey is a British 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 considered that the “unique characteristics” of the ‘case justified the’ termination ‘of the proceedings. He stated that the Minister had been “arrested” or prevented from obtaining a surrender order from Mr. Bailey in light of the 2012 Supreme Court judgment on identical relevant facts.

Mr. Bailey and filmmaker Jim Sheridan were in court for today’s hearing. Mr. Barron will continue with his legal conclusions before Justice Burns tomorrow.

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