Briton gets longer to fight French extradition over murder

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Lawyers for a British journalist wanted in France over the murder of a high-profile film producer's wife in Ireland, were on Wednesday given more time to consider an extradition warrant, a report said.

Ronan Munro, lawyer for Ian Bailey, told the High Court in Dublin that there were strong grounds for contesting his extradition over the 1996 killing, Irish RTE state radio reported.

A French magistrate issued an international arrest warrant for Bailey over the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, wife of the late Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a producer who also headed the Gaumont studios.

Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found beaten to death on December 23, 1996 outside her holiday home in Toomore on the Mizen peninsula in County Cork in the south-west of the country.

Bailey, who has twice been arrested and questioned by Irish police but never charged, has always denied any connection with the murder.

Munro said there was "evidence of garda (Irish police) misconduct in the original investigation, which may have tainted the French inquiry", RTE reported.

He described the proceedings as an abuse of process and an unlawful attempt to subvert the decision of Ireland's director of public prosecutions not to prosecute Bailey, RTE said.

The lawyer said his client would be challenging the right of French authorities to seek the extradition of Bailey for an offence committed outside its jurisdiction.

The High Court adjourned the case until June 2.

© 2010 AFP

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