French verdict was worst moment of Bailey’s life, says lawyer

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The solicitor for Ian Bailey has said that Friday’s ruling was one of the worst moments of his client’s life.

Bailey, 62, was convicted in absentia in France of murdering Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Co Cork in 1996.

Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer said his client is innocent “in this country, in spite of what has been done to him in the other country” and that he would continue to support Bailey, who had been through a “nightmare”.

“It is incredibly distressing,” Mr Buttimer said.

“I do not know how he has managed to survive over the years, this is just the latest, but one of the worst moments of his life, insofar as he has been caught up in this nightmare.

“I truly do not know how he has managed to deal with these extremely difficult matters, but I will continue to support the man and I hope people out there have an understanding of what has been done to him, and what has been done to the criminal justice system of this independent country.”

Mr Buttimer called the ruling a grotesque miscarriage of justice, conducted under a 200-year-old colonial law.

“Ian Bailey never expected to receive what we would understand to be justice in the French jurisdiction,” Mr Buttimer told the Press Association.

“This is a French colonial law, in existence for 200 years when France was a colonial power – where France claims to have jurisdiction over the entire world, as if the criminal justice systems of democracies such as Ireland are not fit for purpose.

“It’s a gross insult to our independence as a country, to the independence of our criminal justice system and to the independence of our public prosecutor.”

French authorities have said they will travel to Ireland with an extradition order to seek to bring Bailey back to their jurisdiction.

“The French will now return to this country to seek his unlawful removal for the third time, and that will resisted by us,” Mr Buttimer added.

“He doesn’t have any rights in France, we have to just react to what’s next to happen.”

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