THE family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier are hoping a call by the European Commission for Ireland to comply with mandatory time limits for European Arrest Warrants will help their case.
The family were devastated last week when the Irish State decided against appealing a High Court rejection of a French application for the extradition of Ian Bailey.
France had sought his extradition after he was found guilty, in his absence, of the murder of the French film producer in west Cork in 1996.
The family’s solicitor, Alain Spilliaert, said: “We have great hope on the procedure started last Friday against Ireland by the European Commission.”
On Friday, Ireland was given two months to act on a call from the European Commission to comply with mandatory time limits for European Arrest Warrants.
The Commission said: “The Commission is calling on Ireland to comply with the requirements of the European Arrest Warrant (Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA) 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. Operational since 1 January 2004, the warrant has replaced the lengthy extradition procedures that used to exist between EU Member States.”
The Commission added: “Ireland has failed to comply with the mandatory time limits to execute a European Arrest Warrant. Moreover, Ireland has provided additional grounds for refusal of a European Arrest Warrant, which affect judicial cross-border co-operation in criminal matters. This is why the Commission decided today to send the letter of formal notice to Ireland, giving it two months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission.”
Mr Spilliaert said the family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier will now follow the process closely.
Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in the murder. He was arrested twice as part of the murder investigation but was never charged.
The trial in Paris followed a probe by French investigators, who travelled to Ireland to interview witnesses who had been previously interviewed as part of the garda investigation into the killing.
Two previous attempts by the French to have Mr Bailey extradited were rejected by the Irish courts. Those attempts were prior to the French trial held in May 2019.
The first rejection was by the Supreme Court in 2012, with the second rejection being in 2017 by the High Court.
After the French probe got underway, Sophie Toscan du Plantier's remains were exhumed from her grave in France and reinterred after a fresh autopsy.
Mr Bailey's fight to prevent a French trial was rejected in France's Supreme Court in 2018.