Ian Bailey extradition hearing gets underway

Mr Bailey is wanted in France to stand trial for the killing of Sophie Tuscan Du Plantier

Ian Bailey extradition hearing gets underway

Ian Bailey arriving at the Four Courts, Dublin in 2015 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Ian Bailey’s latest extradition hearing is underway before the High Court.

He is wanted in France to stand trial for the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was beaten to death in west Cork in 1996.

In light of a previous failed attempt to have him surrendered, Mr Bailey has accused the Minister for Justice of engaging in an abuse of process.

This latest attempt comes on the back of a fresh European Arrest Warrant issued by the French last August.

It was endorsed by the High Court last month and a full hearing began this morning after Ian Bailey refused to agree to his surrender.

Tragic death

Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s body was found in a laneway leading up to her holiday home in Schull in west Cork two days before Christmas 1996.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested in the years that followed but has never been charged in relation to it in this jurisdiction.

In 2012, the Supreme Court rejected France’s first attempt to have him extradited on the ground there was no actual intention to try him.

That decision is one of the main planks of Mr Bailey’s objection to this renewed attempt.

Res judicata

His barrister Garrett Simons raised the legal doctrine of ‘res judicata’ - which essentially blocks a cause of action from being re-litigated once a decision on it has been made by a competent court.

He argued there had been no change to the factual circumstances or legal context of the case and the Supreme Court decision therefore stands.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt pointed out that the French now want to try him. That was not the case five years ago.

Abuse of process

Mr Simons described this fresh application and the delay in bringing it as an abuse of process.

He also highlighted the importance of the DPP’s decision not to prosecute Mr Bailey for the crime here in Ireland.

On this point, Mr Justice Hunt said a difficulty arose “when one arm of the State says no and another says yes, as long as it is somewhere else.”

Again, Mr Simons described as an abuse of process an attempt to mount a parallel investigation in France where the Garda investigation here was described by a Supreme Court judge as “thoroughly flawed and prejudiced.”

Mr Bailey’s extradition hearing is expected to take two days.