By Ralph Riegel
French efforts to question him represent landmark in Irish law
SELF-confessed murder suspect, Ian Bailey, 53, will this week fight a landmark bid by the French authorities to extradite him for questioning in relation to the death of mother-of-one Sophie Toscan du Plantier, 39.
The hearing — which has been repeatedly adjourned over the past eight months — is set to open in the High Court on Thursday.
The case is expected to prove a landmark in Irish law because no one has ever been extradited to another country for questioning in relation to an offence that occurred in this jurisdiction.
Mr Bailey has repeatedly protested his innocence and insisted that “sinister” attempts have been made to frame him for the crime.
December 23 will mark the 14th anniversary of the death of Sophie, 39, who was battered to death on a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull in west Cork.
Last week, Mr Bailey graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) honours degree from University College, Cork (UCC). However, he bluntly refused to comment on the Sophie Toscan du Plantier case, or his upcoming extradition hearing.
“That is not something I am going to say anything about,” he told the Sunday Independent.
The French want Mr Bailey to be extradited to Paris for questioning in relation to the death of Sophie in 1996.
Mr Bailey is opposing the extradition and his supporters vow that the matter will be fought to the Supreme Court and even the European Court if necessary.
Mr Bailey — who was joined at the UCC graduation by his family and friends — said he was very pleased with his law degree. He acknowledged that the impending court case did not help his studies for the final exams.
The French authorities want to question Mr Bailey in relation to the alleged “wilful homicide and serious assault and battery” of Sophie.
His legal team has dismissed the French extradition attempt as “a nonsense”.
Mr Bailey — who lives in Schull — was arrested last April on foot of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by a Paris magistrate.