A High Court judge has directed that journalist Ian Bailey should be extradited to France in connection with the killing of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Co Cork 14 years ago.
However, Mr Justice Micheal Peart has deferred the making of an order for the extradition to allow Mr Bailey's lawyers consider an appeal to the Supreme Court. If Mr Bailey decides to appeal, his extradition will be stayed pending the outcome of that appeal.
Mr Bailey was in court today and remained impassive as Mr Justice Peart delivered his decision. The case has been adjourned until Tuesday and Mr Bailey remains on continuing bail.
Mr Bailey (53), The Prairie, Schull, Co Cork, has always denied any involvement in the killing of Ms Toscan du Plantier (39), whose body was discovered near her holiday home in Schull on December 23rd, 1996.
Mr Bailey was arrested by gardaí investigating the killing and no charges were ever preferred against him but the French authorities had sought his extradition.
Today, Mr Justice Peart ruled none of the objections raised by Mr Bailey entitled the court to refuse the application for the surrender to Mr Bailey to France.
He said the warrant issued by the French authorities clearly stated its purpose was to “prosecute” Mr Bailey as required under the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, did not state the purpose was “investigation” and also indicated the French view there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr Bailey.
The French procedure requires Mr Bailey to be brought before an examining magistrate and given the opportunity to respond to the evidence before any decision is made whether to put him on trial or not, the judge said. The fact a decision may be made not to try him at the end of that procedure did not entitle Mr Bailey to an order preventing his surrender.
The judge also found any comfort which Mr Bailey may have derived from the fact the Director of Public Prosecutions here had made a decision not to prosecute him did not confer upon him any right to the effect he could not or would not be surrendered.
He also rejected arguments, in the “unusual circumstances” of this case, Mr Bailey faced a real risk of an unfair trial in France. While French procedures differ completely from here, including the fact adverse inferences may be drawn from the fact an accused person remains silent, the court had to presume they conformed to at least minimum standards of fairness under the European Convention on Human Rights.
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