Frank Buttimer: Bailey has 'been a prisoner in a country called Ireland'

Frank Buttimer: Bailey has 'been a prisoner in a country called Ireland'
Ian Bailey pictured in Schull. Picture Dan Linehan

Although technically a free man, Ian Bailey has essentially been a prisoner in a country that is not his own, according to his solicitor, Frank Buttimer.

Solicitor Frank Buttimer watched by Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey outside the Four Courts in 2015. Pic: Courts Collins
Solicitor Frank Buttimer watched by Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey outside the Four Courts in 2015. Pic: Courts Collins

He was unable to visit his elderly mother in the UK and was not able to attend her funeral when she died in May 2013, as an arrest warrant was out for him by the French authorities.

In late 2014, Ian Bailey took a High Court action for wrongful arrest against the State, which he lost. He was supported at the action by his only sibling, sister Kay Reynolds, who gave evidence.

He cannot travel to the UK to visit her but she has visited him, along with other relatives and friends from his life in the UK, before he moved to west Cork.

Mr Buttimer said: “He has been a prisoner in a country called Ireland.” In the 11 years since 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 has always argued his innocence and has fought against his extradition to France for the trial. However, his fight to prevent a French trial was rejected in France's Supreme Court last year.

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

Ian Bailey having a cup of coffee at the Bake House in Bantry, West Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Ian Bailey having a cup of coffee at the Bake House in Bantry, West Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

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the statements implicating Ian Bailey, a garda team was set up to investigate the circumstances under which they were withdrawn.

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