High Court to rule today on Ian Bailey arrest warrant

High Court to rule today on Ian Bailey arrest warrant

Ian Bailey at the farmers market in Bantry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

FORMER journalist Ian Bailey will find out today if he is to be extradited to France for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

A decision is expected this morning from the High Court on whether a European Arrest Warrant for his arrest will be endorsed.

The warrant was issued by France after Mr Bailey was found guilty in his absence last year of the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier near Schull in 1996. 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.

Mr Bailey, who has always protested his innocence, was arrested twice during the garda investigation but was released without charge on both occasions. 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.

Investigators came to Ireland a number of times to question people who were witnesses in the garda investigation.

The case has gone through several twists and turns since the murder. In 2005, a woman originally thought to be a key witness, Marie Farrell, withdrew her statements that she had seen Ian Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge, near the murder scene. She said gardaí had pressured her into making the statements.

After she withdrew the statements implicating Ian Bailey, a garda team was set up to investigate the circumstances under which they were withdrawn. In late 2014, Ian Bailey took a High Court action for wrongful arrest against the State, which he lost.

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