Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder: No extradition for British suspect

Irish court REJECTS attempt by France to extradite British man convicted in his absence of murdering movie producer’s wife outside her holiday home in Cork

  • Ian Bailey, 63, wanted in France over 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier  
  • British journalist was convicted of her killing in absentia in France last year 
  • Ireland’s High Court has today rejected France’s attempt to have him extradited  
  • If he request had gone ahead, Bailey was facing 25 years in a French jail 

A British journalist will not be extradited to France over the murder of a famous film director’s wife, Ireland’s High Court has ruled.  

Ian Bailey, 63, was tried and convicted in absentia of the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in a French court last year.

Bailey was arrested in Dublin in December last year on an international warrant after the case wrapped up, and extradition proceedings got underway.

Bailey has now been told that he will not be forced to go to France, where he had been facing 25 years behind bars. 

Ian Bailey (pictured today) will not be extradited to France to face jail for the 1996 murder of film director’s wife Sophie Toscan du Plantier, Ireland’s High Court has revealed

It is the third time that French authorities have tried to have Bailey extradited, despite having no formal extradition treaty with Ireland.

The first attempt was rejected after judges ruled that French and Irish laws relating to crimes committed outside their own territories was not reciprocal.

The law was subsequently changed, RTE reports, and the French tried again to have Bailey extradited, but the case was thrown out for abuse of process. 

Bailey’s lawyers had been arguing that the third attempt also constituted abuse of process, ahead of today’s ruling.

It was not immediately clear on what grounds the ruling was based. 

Ms Toscan du Plantier’s battered body was found on an isolated hillside near her holiday home in Toormore, west Cork, two days before Christmas in 1996.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French woman who was murdered in Ireland in 1996, is pictured (above) in an undated image taken in the French southern village of Combret

She was the wife of celebrated cinematographer Daniel Toscan du Plantier and her death has been one of Ireland’s most famous unsolved killings. 

Bailey, who lived about three kilometres from Ms Toscan du Plantier, was arrested twice in connection with the death but was never charged, amid allegations of incompetence and corruption against gardai.

Marie Farrell, the only witness to put him at the scene at the time of the killing, later retracted her evidence, claiming she had been groomed and bullied by investigators into giving false evidence.

Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in her death.

Ireland has twice refused to send him to France to stand trial, saying police had questioned him twice about the killing but failed to find any substantive evidence.

It has also cited the lack of an extradition agreement with France.

Only due to a quirk of France’s Napoleonic law that allows crimes against French citizens to be tried in their own courts, no matter where in the world they were committed, that Bailey was tried and sentenced in Paris earlier this year. 

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