Suspect arrested in Ireland over 1996 French murder case

Dublin (AFP) –


A British man convicted in France of killing a French woman in Ireland nearly 25 years ago has been arrested in Dublin, pending his possible extradition, his lawyer said Monday.

Frank Buttimer said Ian Bailey was detained after a High Court judge agreed to sign a warrant requesting his arrest in connection with the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996.

Bailey was then released on unconditional bail pending a further hearing, likely to be on January 20, he added.

The suspect told reporters outside court: "I knew that this was going to almost certainly happen, so it doesn't come as a surprise to me."

Buttimer told AFP the arrest had been a formality, allowing "legal argument as to whether the French application for Mr Bailey's removal from Ireland is lawful or not lawful", he added.

Court officials said the endorsement of the European Arrest Warrant was not an order for extradition but simply to initiate court extradition proceedings.

A French court earlier this year convicted Bailey in his absence of killing Toscan du Plantier, the wife of a prominent French film producer, at her holiday home in County Cork, southern Ireland.

The former freelance journalist, who lives in Cork, has repeatedly denied the charge. The French court sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

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.