The High Court in Ireland has rejected an attempt by French authorities to extradite Ian Bailey for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Bailey was facing a third extradition process to France, in relation to the death of Ms Toscan du Plantier whose badly beaten body was found outside her holiday home in Schull in December 1996.
Mr Justice Burns delivered the judgment at the High Court in Dublin and ruled that the 63-year-old would not be surrendered to France following a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued last year.
Mr Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said his client is “extremely relieved” at the court’s decision.
Speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin, Mr Buttimer said: “The impact on his life of the entire situation has been extremely challenging for him for the last 24 years.”
Mr Buttimer said his client has always maintained his innocence in relation to the case.
“He appreciates the work of his legal team, his senior counsel and junior counsel and the tremendous amount of work over a long period of time,” Mr Buttimer added.
“The matter is not of course finalised because the judgment is to be formalised and the state then has to take a decision whether they intend to proceed further.
“Mr Bailey intends to return to West Cork and he intends to attempt to get on with the rest of his life as best he can, subject to any other decision that is made by the state in relation to any appeal.”
Mr Buttimer said that the state is entitled to consider its position.
He added that the judgment is “comprehensively in favour” of Bailey’s grounds of objection.
The ruling comes after two previous attempts to extradite Bailey.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Bailey could not be extradited to France based on the European Arrest Warrant Act because the alleged murder did not happen in the issuing state.
The law has changed since that ruling, however Mr Justice Burns on Monday said the change in legislation does not permit his extradition.
He added that Bailey has an “accrued or vested right” not to be surrendered to the French authorities based on the previous judicial decisions.
Justice Burns said the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Act of 2019 does not “divest” Mr Bailey of these rights.
Bailey was arrested last year after a High Court judge endorsed the EAW issued by French authorities.
He is wanted in France for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier in Schull, Co Cork, in December 1996.
Bailey, with an address at The Prairie in Schull, was convicted of murder in his absence by a court in Paris in May last year.
The three-judge court imposed a 25-year sentence.
He had no legal representation for the case, did not attend the court and described it at the time as a farce.
He has always denied any involvement in the Frenchwoman’s death.
Mr Bailey was remanded on continuing bail to appear on October 27.
Mr Justice Burns is to make his formal order on that date.