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Toscan du Plantier murder: Family begins legal battle to change Irish laws

The family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier wants the European Commission to bring Ireland to the European Court of Justice.

Ian Bailey convinced the Supreme Court earlier this year that it could not honour a European arrest warrant trying to send him to France.
Ian Bailey convinced the Supreme Court earlier this year that it could not honour a European arrest warrant trying to send him to France.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE FAMILY of French murder victim Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was murdered in Co Cork 16 years ago, have reportedly launched a campaign to have Ireland taken to the European Court of Justice in order to have its laws changed.

Le Monde says family solicitors have confirmed that an appeal would be lodged with the European Commission, seeking to have it bring Ireland before the Luxembourg-based court so that Ireland could be forced to amend its laws on extradition.

The new legal campaign comes six months after Bailey successfully argued at the Supreme Court that Irish law meant he could not be extradited unless he had been formally charged with Toscan du Plantier’s murder, at her holiday home in west Cork in December 1996.

The Court ruled that Section 21A of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, as amended, means people cannot be extradited merely for the purposes of a police investigation.

This meant that because Bailey had not been formally charged, the European arrest warrant obtained by France could not be followed up.

Is Ireland in breach of EU law?

The Toscan du Plantier family are now likely to argue that the Irish Act is in breach of European treaties by failing to acknowledge the terms of the arrest warrant. If the ECJ were to agree, Ireland would be forced to change its own domestic laws – meaning a fresh warrant could be sought for Bailey’s extradition.

The family solicitors, confirming earlier reports in Le Figaro, said there was “a strong hope” that Bailey’s case could be considered by a Parisian court next year.

“In January, Ireland will chair the European Union,” one told Le Figaro. “More than ever, this country needs to enforce the law.”

Although Toscan du Plantier was killed in Ireland, French law still allows its authorities to investigate the suspicious death of a French citizen in another jurisdiction. Those authorities do not, however, have the power to compel witnesses to be sent to France.

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

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Gavan Reilly

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