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Disqualified Ian Bailey banned from roads for 12 months after drug driving conviction

The conviction came as the Manchester-born freelance journalist and poet (64) failed in all but one of his legal challenges to the statutory right of Gardaí to process a drug driving prosecution against him.

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Ian Bailey. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Ian Bailey. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Ian Bailey. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Ian Bailey has been convicted of drug driving and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

The conviction came as the Manchester-born freelance journalist and poet (64) failed in all but one of his legal challenges to the statutory right of Gardaí to process a drug driving prosecution against him.

Mr Bailey - who is also a law graduate - last year successfully fought extradition to France over the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39).

He has consistently protested his innocence in relation to the December 23, 1996, killing of the French mother of one at her west Cork holiday home.

He was convicted in absentia by a French court of the killing in 2019 - but has repeatedly claimed that attempts were made to frame him for the crime.

Mr Bailey of The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, Co Cork, described the Paris proceedings as "a farce" and "a show trial."

Three times the French have sought and failed to secure his extradition from west Cork since 2010.

Judge John King at Bantry District Court today dealt with a drug driving and drug possession case against Mr Bailey which was first heard last November.

Gardaí prosecuted Mr Bailey for operating a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis and for possession of a small quantity of cannabis.

Judge King heard detailed oral and written legal submissions on Mr Bailey's behalf from Emmet Boyle BL instructed by solicitor Ray Hennessy.

The counts all arise from an incident on August 25 2019 outside Schull.

Mr Bailey was stopped by gardaí while driving at Skull town land outside the west Cork village and was later taken to Bantry Garda Station.

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He was subsequently released without charge pending the results of test samples.

Judge King today convicted Mr Bailey on three of the four summonses involved.

"On the basis of the evidence I am entitled to convict," he said.

He disqualified Mr Bailey from driving for 12 months and fined him a total of €700.

Mr Boyle told the court that Mr Bailey was a man whose "means were of the lower order."

"He lives rurally so the implications of the one year ban will weigh very heavily on him," he said.

He is not working and is currently in receipt of social welfare.

"He is currently living with someone at their home," Mr Boyle added.

Judge King was asked to allow the maximum six months for payment of the fines imposed.

Mr Bailey declined to comment to the media on leaving Bantry Court beyond confirming that "the matter will be appealed."

The convictions included that Mr Bailey drove while under the influence of cannabis, had possession of cannabis for his own use and used his vehicle for the purpose of the transport of cannabis.

A fourth prosecution in relation to the detention and subsequent search of Mr Bailey's car was dismissed by Judge King after he upheld a defence challenge to the procedures used by gardaí.

The court previously heard a small tin of cannabis was recovered after Mr Bailey had been stopped in his Toyota Verso car by gardaí at a checkpoint.

Mr Boyle, on Mr Bailey's behalf, had challenged a number of issues in respect of the matter including how the alleged drugs were found, why the keys of Mr Bailey's car were retained by officers, why the vehicle was moved from the roadside field entrance where it was parked to the garda station and why it was only searched the following day.

The court also heard details of a memo, taken during a station interview after Mr Bailey was cautioned, in which he said a tin had been left at his farmers’ market stall by another party.

"Someone left it at the market stall. They said 'it's for you' and they left it."

Mr Bailey said he did not know what was in the tin which had been left.

The defendant also said he did not know the name of the individual who had left the tin.

Gardaí told the court samples, including a blood test, were sent for analysis after Mr Bailey was brought to the station.

The blood sample results, received on October 29 2019, showing a reading of 2.7ng/ml for D9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 1ng/ml and 19.5ng/ml for 11-nor-9-carboxy-D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 5ng/ml.

Mr Bailey has published two successful volumes of poetry and is now the focus of a number of several books and two high-profile documentaries.

A long-awaited TV series on the 1996 tragedy by Academy Award nominated director, Jim Sheridan, and investigative journalist, Donal MacIntyre, is scheduled to get its world premiere within weeks.

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