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Arrest Warrant Ian Bailey 'will be extradited to France,' insists lawyer for Sophie's family

Bailey’s solicitor hit back, saying: 'The French pursuit in this matter is no more or less than an insult to the criminal justice system and the decision of the Irish courts'


Ian Bailey. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey will “eventually” be extradited to France, a lawyer representing the family of murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier has said.

Paris lawyer Alain Spilliaert said the extradition will come as a consequence of a European Commission ruling that states Ireland is non-compliant with aspects of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system.

Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, hit back at the French authorities, saying: “The French pursuit in this matter is no more or less than an insult to the criminal justice system and the decision of the Irish courts.”

Last October, the European Commission told Ireland it was not compliant with all EAW procedures.

The notice was issued shortly after the High Court ruled Bailey could not be extradited to serve a 25-year prison sentence imposed on him by a French court for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier in West Cork 25 years ago.


Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier


Englishman Bailey (64), a poet and former journalist, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the 1996 murder, and the DPP has twice ruled he should not face charges over the film-maker’s killing.

Mr Spilliaert said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that Bailey would eventually be extradited to France following the conclusion of dialogue between Ireland and the European Commission.

In correspondence sent to Ireland, the commission wrote: “The commission is calling on Ireland to comply with the requirements of the European Arrest Warrant, in particular the mandatory time limits.

“The European Arrest Warrant allows for a simplified cross-border judicial procedure used in prosecuting or executing a custodial sentence or detention order.

“A warrant issued by a judicial authority of a member state is valid in the entire territory of the EU.

“Ireland has failed to comply with the mandatory time limits to execute a European Arrest Warrant.

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“Moreover, Ireland has provided additional grounds for refusal of a European Arrest Warrant, which affect judicial cross-border cooperation in criminal matters.

“This is why the commission decided today to send the letter of formal notice to Ireland, giving it two months to address the necessary measures identified.”

Ireland is in discussions with the European Commission about the issues it raised over its non-compliance with the warrant system.

“It will take some time, but Ireland will be forced to change its law in terms of how it handles European Arrest Warrants,” Mr Spilliaert said. “We are confident he will eventually be extradited to France to stand trial.

“What is going on cannot continue. He is always giving interviews about the case. His story changes a lot. It is very upsetting for the family.”

Mr Buttimer responded by saying that if the French did attempt to extradite his client on a fourth occasion, it would be contested.

“It’s extraordinary that the French authorities should seek in any way to criticise Ireland for non-compliance with obligations under the European Arrest Warrant system, particularly in relation to delays,” he said. 

“Bear in mind the incomprehensible delay the French authorities stand accused of in relation to their relentless pursuit of Mr Bailey.”

Mr Buttimer said the French authorities first outlined their  intention to extradite Bailey in 2008, before beginning the process in 2010.

“When that was refused by the Irish Supreme Court in 2012, it took the French a further five years to bring their next extradition proceedings.

“After that was rejected, it took them a further two years for their third extradition request, which also failed.”

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