Charges against Ian Bailey expected ever since 2012 ruling

French authorities charge journalist with killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

The news that the French authorities have charged Ian Bailey with the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and will proceed to try him does not come as a major surprise. Lawyers for both Ms Toscan du Plantier's family and Mr Bailey have long predicted such a development.

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled against extraditing Mr Bailey to France in March 2012, Alain Spilliaert, lawyer for Ms Toscan du Plantier's parents Georges and Marguerite Bouniol and her son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, has anticipated such a scenario.

Speaking to The Irish Times last year, Mr Spilliaert expressed confidence that if the investigating magistrates found Mr Bailey had a case to answer over Ms Toscan du Plantier's death, French public prosecutors would agree to him being tried – in absentia if necessary.

Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, also expressed similar sentiments as well as concern for his client, arguing the French investigation was based on nothing more than "a discredited and flawed Irish investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier".



Although Mr Bailey declined to comment yesterday on the news that the French were to seek his extradition again after charging him with homicide, he has spoken in the past about the worry and anxiety he feels at the prospect of being extradited to France.

Speaking to Joe Duffy on RTÉ's Liveline in March 2013 after he won his Supreme Court appeal against extradition, he pointed out that the European arrest warrant may have been declared invalid in Ireland but it remained extant and live elsewhere in Europe.

“Because the warrant is issued by France and not by Ireland, it is still live.

“I can’t leave Ireland – I am strangely enough a prisoner in the 26 fair green counties. I cannot leave the Republic.

“If I went to the North or to Britain to visit my family, I would immediately be arrested,” he said.

Asked by Mr Duffy if he would consider taking a ferry from Ireland to the UK, Mr Bailey was adamant he would not take such a risk.

"The French have a record of saying that they are going to prosecute me in my absence as they are entitled to under their civil law code – they have said they will do that so I presume they are going to do that," he said on Liveline. "That's what the authorities in France and the various spokespeople for the family have said.

“I suspect if they did convict me that they would seek my extradition under a new warrant and I would probably have to go through the whole proceedings again – it’s constantly there as a concern.”

Mother’s funeral

Mr Bailey later spoke of his regret at not being able to visit his elderly mother Brenda or attend her funeral after she died in


in May 2013 due to the existence of the arrest warrant.

"She understood why I couldn't travel – we didn't really talk about it but I would have thought that it probably caused her a lot of anguish to know the situation I was in and that I couldn't travel to the UK to see her," he told The Irish Times.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times