By Brian Moore and Alison O’Riordan
As another bid to extradite him fails, Bailey says he is very grateful for ‘local support’
Ian Bailey has thanked the ‘fantastic people of West Cork for their support’ after a third failed bid to extradite him to France, where he faces a 25-year prison sentence for the murder of filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
While relieved after a High Court judge refused to order his surrender, Mr Bailey told The Southern Star: ‘It’s not over. This isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the end of a chapter.
‘I was expecting the worst but hoping for the best. I’ve learned to separate my emotional side from my practical side and the whole experience has made me more aware of other people’s feelings,’ he said.
Since returning from the court hearing in Dublin, he said he’s had people ‘congratulating’ him. But he said the good wishes should go to his lawyer Frank Buttimer and his legal team instead. ‘They have believed in me from the very beginning and I want to thank the fantastic people of West Cork for all their support.’
The 63-year-old said he has been keeping busy by writing poetry and has a new collection entitled Covert Covid Poetry.
After the court ruling, Mr Buttimer said of his client: ‘He always expresses his sadness and his sympathy for the late Madame Toscan du Plantier, whilst at the same time always maintaining his innocence in relation to anything or any connection to that dreadful crime. The matter is not finalised because the judgment has to be formalised and the State then have to take a position as to whether they will proceed further. That is entirely a matter for the State and other than that, Mr Bailey intends to return to West Cork to attempt to get on with the rest of his life as best he can.’
This was the third attempt by French authorities to seek 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.
Bailey of Liscaha, Schull, was convicted of murder, in his absence, in a Paris court in May 2019 and given a 25-year sentence.
Mr Justice Paul Burns emphasised that the guilt or innocence of Mr Bailey was not an issue in the proceedings. He adjourned making a formal order for two weeks to allow the State to seek leave to appeal the matter and remanded Mr Bailey on continuing bail until October 27th but said Mr Bailey was not needed on that date.