Ian Bailey has been arrested and released on bail after the High Court endorsed a European Arrest Warrant issued by the French Authorities who are seeking his extradition after a French court convicted him in his absence for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

His lawyers had objected to the endorsement of the warrant saying the High Court had already found that a second extradition attempt by the French in 2017 was an abuse of process.

Senior Counsel Ronan Munroe said endorsing a third warrant would expose Mr Bailey to another abuse of process.

Lawyers for the State said the law had changed since the 2017 High Court decision and in the meantime Mr Bailey had also been convicted of murder at a trial in France in his absence.

The Minister for Justice was obliged to move the application to endorse the warrant, the court was told.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy said he was satisfied the warrant should be endorsed and a full hearing of the arguments for and against his extradition will be dealt with by the court at a later date.

The judge said not to do so would be to eliminate all arguments in the substantive case and to do so would be premature.

Sgt Jim Kirwan gave evidence of arresting Mr Bailey at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin soon after the warrant was endorsed by the High Court today.

Sgt Kirwan said he informed Mr Bailey that the warrant stated he had been convicted in his absence by a French court for murder.

He asked Mr Bailey if knew what the warrant was in connection with and he said Mr Bailey replied yes, adding "I just want to say I had nothing to do with this crime".

Mr Bailey has now been released on bail on his own bond of €15,000 pending a full hearing of the extradition proceedings in the New Year.

As part of the conditions of bail he had to surrender his passport.

The High Court has sought a full translation of the documents attached to the arrest warrant after the judge said some of it was "very difficult to understand".

Mr Bailey will not have to attend court again until 20 January. The case will be mentioned before the court again on Friday next.

After he left court followed by a documentary team, Mr Bailey said he had been expecting the warrant and was not in a position to comment further at this stage.

It is the third time French authorities have sought Mr Bailey's surrender in relation to the death of Ms du Plantier, who was found dead outside her holiday home in Schull, Co Cork, in December 1996.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Extradition proceedings cannot begin in Ireland until the High Court endorses the French warrant. 

Mr Bailey, with an address at The Prairie, Liscaha, Schull, west Cork, was convicted of the Frenchwoman's murder in his absence in a Paris court earlier this year.

The three-judge Cour d'Assises in Paris imposed a 25-year prison sentence on him in his absence.

The 62-year-old Englishman denies any involvement in her death. He did not attend the French court and had no legal representation in the proceedings, which he has described as a "farce". 

At a hearing earlier this month Counsel for the Minister, Robert Barron SC, told the court that the two previous extradition attempts were unsuccessful but in the intervening period, Mr Bailey had been convicted of Ms du Plantier's voluntary homicide. 

The Supreme Court refused to extradite Mr Bailey in 2012 holding that surrender was prohibited because the alleged offence was committed outside French territory and Irish law does not allow prosecution for the same offence when committed outside its territory by a non-Irish citizen.

Mr Barron said that would have been the end of the matter. However, he said provisions introduced in the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Act 2019 raised two possible interpretations of the Supreme Court’s majority finding on extraterritoriality in 2012. 

He said he was putting the "two alternative versions of the Supreme Court judgment up in the air". If the High Court held that surrender was still prohibited - under section 44 of the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 - then it could refuse to endorse the warrant.

Mr Justice Binchy said the process of endorsing warrants was "by and large a screening process" to ensure people are "not dragged through the courts" on foot of "flawed" warrants. 

He said he believed the process of endorsing extradition warrants was "unique" to Ireland and that he thought it was a good process. It was not a "forum for a full hearing" of matters raised by the application itself, he added. 

Mr Justice Binchy said the circumstances surrounding the present extradition request were probably "unique".

He said he was mindful of the fact that once a warrant is endorsed there were certain time limits that had to be honoured. 

He put the matter back to today.

The second French extradition request in respect of My Bailey was dismissed as an "abuse of process" by the High Court in 2017, with Mr Justice Tony Hunt holding that the "unique features" of the case justified "termination" of the proceedings. 

Mr Justice Hunt said Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions had concluded "long ago that there is no basis for either (a) charge or trial on this matter in this jurisdiction, and unusually, a comprehensive statement of reasons for this prosecutorial decision came into the public domain during the previous Supreme Court" case.