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Ian Bailey and his solicitor Frank Buttimer after winning his appeal against his extradition. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Ian Bailey's lawyer: French authorities intend to continue with process

“This is a farcical state of affairs.”

A LAYWER FOR Ian Bailey believes that French authorities intend to continue with their investigation into his client despite the Supreme Court ruling that he should not be extradited to France for questioning about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Speaking to RTÉ One Radio this afternoon, Frank Buttimer said that there is currently an application by French authorities to seek further access to Garda files in relation to Mr Bailey. Proceedings in that case will be heard in Dublin this week, he said.

“The French don’t care about the Irish prosecutorial and judicial systems,” said Buttimer. “They intend to try Ian Bailey in his absence. It is immaterial to them if he was or was not to be extradited. They intended to continue with this.”

In France, you can be tried for the gravest of crimes in your absence.

Bailey, a former journalist, has denied any involvement in the murder of Toscan du Plantier, who was found dead near her holiday home in Schull, in West Cork, more than 15 years ago.

French authorities have sought his extradition for questioning – and not prosecution – so the Supreme Court upheld Bailey’s appeal. A Court shall refuse to surrender a person if it is satisfied that a decision has not been made to charge the person and, in Bailey’s case, try him for the offence of murder of Mme Toscan du Plantier.

Buttimer described the current situation as a “farcical state of affairs”. He told the This Week programme that Bailey is “completely innocent” and a “victim of alleged misbehaviour”.

There is no evidence against him. Meanwhile, in France they seek to rely on tainted evidence. Probably, at the end of the day, they will seek to extradite him if and when he is found guilty of the crime.

The question of a tainted Garda investigation and process was raised in the High Court by Bailey’s lawyers. They maintained that the French warrant was invalid because it contained alleged evidence that was allegedly obtained improperly, was corrupt and tainted.

The information about the questionable Garda investigation came to light after the Director of Public Prosecutions sent Buttimer what he calls a “44-page devastation” of the evidence against his client.

That documentation from the DPP only emerged after that court had ruled on Bailey’s extradition and just prior to the Supreme Court’s overturning of that judgement.

“It came to me in unprecedented circumstances and I could not believe what I was reading,” he said. “I had not expected it and I had no entitlement in law to receive it.”

The retired DPP Eamon Barnes took the view that in the interest of justice, certain material should be sent to us, explained the solicitor.

“This case is totally unprecedented and raises huge questions about our system of justice,” concluded Buttimer.

Shatter response

Earlier today, Justice Minister Alan Shatter responded to an article published in the Sunday Business Post, stating that it’s headline (Government tried to conceal key parts of Bailey case investigation) was “completely misleading”.

Shatter said that once the documentation emerged from the office of the DPP, arrangements were made to furnish it to the solicitors and counsel representing all sides in the proceedings.

The documents were also forwarded to the relevant French authorities.

Some of the details of the report, however, were kept out of the public domain to “protect the Constitutional rights of third parties”. Shatter reiterated that the material could still be used in court by Bailey’s legal representatives.

The issues raised in the DPP documentation has formed the basis of a complaint made on behalf of Bailey to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

Garda Ombudsman investigating Ian Bailey complaint – Shatter>

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