Ian Bailey fears he’ll die in a French jail

Ian Bailey fears he’ll die in a French jail
PIC: Collins Courts

SOLICITOR Frank Buttimer has accused the Department of Justice of “bending over backwards to assist the French” to “persecute” Ian Bailey.

Mr Bailey was arrested this week after the High Court endorsed an arrest warrant seeking his extradition to France for the murder of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier.

The warrant was issued by France after Mr Bailey was found guilty in his absence earlier this year of the murder of the Frenchwoman near Schull in 1996. Two previous attempts by the French to have Mr Bailey extradited were rejected by the Irish courts.

Mr Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said: “It’s outrageous that the Minister for Justice, acting on behalf of the people of Ireland, is advancing what I would call a continued attempt by a foreign jurisdiction to persecute Mr Bailey. “He thinks it’ll end in the grave, or if he’s thrown out of the country, he’ll die in a French jail.

“I’d be very happy to waive any entitlement to Mr Bailey for privacy and I would challenge the Minister to debate the issue,” he added.

“But the Minister will still not rise to the challenge and will hide behind the excuse that ‘we don’t comment on individual cases’.

“I would call on the Minister to explain his Department’s attitude towards the decisions of the office of the Director of Public Prosecution and the courts of this country,” said Mr Buttimer.

In 2012, the DPP concluded and reiterated that there is no evidence to warrant a prosecution against Mr Bailey, as the Supreme Court blocked France’s first attempt to have him extradited.

In 2017, Justice Tony Hunt refused to surrender him and described the attempt to do so as an “abuse of process”.

However, in a statement to The Echo, the Department of Justice said it is misleading to suggest that the Bailey case is a matter for the Minister. 

"The case is entirely a matter for the Courts and it would not be appropriate for the Minister to politically interfere with the Courts or comment directly on the case."

Mr Buttimer said the DOJ has “bent over backwards to assist the French”, despite these rulings.

“Where does this ever end for my client?” he asked.

“An innocent man buried in some French jail before he dies - that’s what his removal would lead to,” added Mr Buttimer.

“These remorseless, conscienceless people are proposing that what they’re trying to do is all fine.

Mr Buttimer said his client’s life has “been destroyed by this continued association with a crime he didn’t commit”.

The Department has been contacted for comment.

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