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Ian Bailey has been found guilty in a French court of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

The verdict was handed down today after a short trial.

Updated May 31st 2019, 5:53 PM

ENGLISH MAN IAN Bailey has been found guilty in a France court of the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996. 

Briton Ian Bailey was given 25-year jail term over the 1996 case.

The verdict was handed down today after a short trial.

A new French arrest warrant has been issued for Bailey.

Bailey wasn’t present in court for the verdict. The retired journalist was tried in absentia after Ireland refused two extradition requests from French authorities in 2010 and 2016, citing the lack of a reciprocal extradition deal between the two countries.

France moved ahead with a trial following a complaint by du Plantier’s family in 1997. The trial began in a Paris court earlier this week.

Bailey was arrested twice for questioning twice by gardaí, but was never charged and continues to live near the home where du Plantier was staying in Schull. 

The Supreme Court refused an extradition request for Bailey in 2012. Speaking to RTÉ’s Drivetime this evening, Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer described today’s decision as “grotesque injustice, as predicted”.

Buttimer criticised the proceedings as being based on “hearsay and so-called expert witnesses”. He added that he expects the French justice system to continue in its efforts to have Bailey extradited. 

Despite this, Buttimer says he expects the Supreme Court to come to a different conclusion should another extradition request be forthcoming from France.

“My belief is, no, that if it comes to pass that the Supreme Court will adhere to the decision made seven years ago or however long ago it takes to get back up there,” he says.

Buttimer also said that Bailey has been a “prisoner since 2008″ in not being able to leave Ireland for fear of extradition to France.

- © AFP, 2019

Additional reporting Cormac Fitzgerald and Rónán Duffy

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