LAWYERS for the State have told the High Court that ‘in a bizarre way’ Ireland has become a ‘safe haven’ for Ian Bailey, who is facing a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in France.
The Minister for Justice’s barrister Mr Robert Barron SC last week told the High Court that the family of Ms du Plantier feel they have not achieved justice.
Mr Barron also said there was a strong public interest in surrendering the Englishman, who has been suspected for 24 years of killing the mother-of-one. He said there was a risk of losing sight of this.
This was the third time French authorities have sought Mr Bailey’s surrender in relation to the death of Ms du Plantier, whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996.
The former journalist (63), with an address at The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, was convicted of the French woman’s murder in his absence in Paris in May 2019. He denies any involvement in Ms du Plantier’s death.
In his sworn affidavit, Mr Bailey said he had nothing to do with the murder. He said that whilst he has not been the subject of criminal court proceedings in Ireland, he has been subject to the criminal process and his standing had suffered greatly in the small rural community where he lives.
He said he had been greatly restrained and unable to travel freely since the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant in 2010. He explained that he was unable to visit his mother in a nursing home in the UK or attend her funeral.
Mr Justice Burns said some very important and difficult issues had arisen, and if he needed additional information, he would recall both sides. He reserved judgment and said he would deliver it on October 12th.