IAN Bailey has been convicted of drug driving and banned from driving for 12 months.
Bailey, who was convicted of murdering Sophie Tuscan Du Plantier in west Cork in 1996 by a French court, was today fined a total of €700 after being convicted of drug-driving in August 2019.
Bailey has always insisted he had nothing to do with the horrific murder of the French woman in the laneway leading to her isolated holiday home near Schull on December 23, 1996.
He was convicted in absentia by a French court in 2019 and last year successfully fought being extradited to France.
The Englishman, 64, who had pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of cannabis in his car, possession of cannabis at Bantry Garda Station, driving while cannabis was in his system, and allowing his car to be used for possession of cannabis, was today convicted on three of the four charges by Judge John King at Bantry District Court.
The charges arose after Bailey was stopped at a Garda checkpoint near Schull on August 25, 2019.
In evidence given to the court last December, Sergeant Kevin Heffernan said the former journalist was stopped because he was not wearing a seatbelt. But there was a strong smell of drink from him and Bailey admitted he had a pint earlier with a meal.
He failed a roadside breath test but later passed a test in the Garda Station in Bantry. Later blood samples taken by a doctor showed that he had cannabis in his system.
When he was searched there, Bailey had a small tin which contained suspected cannabis.
And during a later search of his car, which was held overnight, three cannabis joints were found in it.
When asked about the tin with the drug, Bailey with an address at The Prairie, Lisscaha, Schull, said: “Someone left it at the market stall” and “I assume it is cannabis and I was in possession of it.”
Defending barrister Emmet Boyle, made a number of submissions to the judge regarding the actions of Gardai, including about the search of his car in the compound.
The judge today dismissed one charge of possession of cannabis in Bailey’s car where the three joints were found, saying the vehicle had not been legally detained.
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He convicted him on the charges of possessing cannabis in Bantry, driving with cannabis in his body and permitting possession of cannabis in a car under his control.
Judge King convicted Bailey of drug-driving and fined him €400, with six months to pay.
On possession of cannabis, he also convicted him and fined him €300, with six months to pay, and took the remaining Section 19 charge into consideration. He also banned him from driving for 12 months.