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Ian Bailey’s appeal against drug driving charge being heard before Cork Circuit Appeals Court

Ian Bailey

Ralph RiegelIndependent.ie

Ian Bailey’s appeal against a drug driving charge is being heard before a Cork court today.

Cork Circuit Appeals Court is dealing with the challenge by freelance journalist and poet Bailey (65) and it has been adjourned multiple times over the past two years.

Mr Bailey was convicted of drug driving by Judge John King before Bantry District Court in May 2021 following a case which took almost a year to resolve.

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months though the disqualification has been paused pending the outcome of Mr Bailey's appeal.

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

In 2021 Judge King heard detailed oral and written legal submissions on Mr Bailey's behalf from Emmet Boyle BL instructed by solicitor Ray Hennessy.

Alan O’Dwyer BL is representing Mr Bailey today in the fully contested matter before Cork Circuit Appeals Court.

The counts all arose 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.

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

Judge King 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 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 was not working and is currently receiving social welfare.

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

Mr Bailey immediately vowed 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.

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, who is also a law graduate, has successfully fought extradition to France three times since 2010 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.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested by Gardaí in relation to the investigation in 1997 and 1998 but was released without charge on both occasions. The Director of Public Prosecutions ruled in 2000/2001 that he did not have a case to answer.

But he was convicted in absentia by a French court of the killing in 2019 - despite repeatedly claiming that attempts were made to frame him for the crime.

The French court imposed a 25 year prison term.

Mr Bailey, formerly of Liscaha, Schull, Co Cork but currently living in Bantry, described the Paris proceedings as "a farce" and "a show trial."

The killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has attracted international attention over recent times with the release of two major documentaries on the 25 year old crime, one by Jim Sheridan for Sky TV and the other by Simon Chinn for Netflix.

Five books about one of Ireland's most notorious unsolved crimes are being published over a 12 month period.

Mr Bailey complained of the incessant public focus on him and said that, at times, it felt as if some people were "feeding on my carcass while I am still alive."

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

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