Omagh bombing civil trial moves to Ireland for testimony

[JURIST] A British civil lawsuit [BBC report] against members of the Real IRA alleged to have been involved with the 1998 Omagh bombing [JURIST news archive] in Northern Ireland opened in a Dublin court Monday. The trial, which began [JURIST report] in the Belfast High Court in April, was moved to Dublin so that the High Court could hear evidence from law enforcement officials [Garde website] from the Republic of Ireland concerning the bombing. The court proceedings were interrupted almost immediately on Monday by disagreements over whether defense counsel would be prevented from raising objections to the questioning of the Irish law enforcement officials until the trial returned to Belfast. The Irish judge overseeing the gathering of evidence in Dublin, District Court Judge Conal Gibbons, referred the matter to the British judge presiding over the trial in Belfast, Justice Declan Morgan [Queens University profile]. Morgan will hear defense counsel's objections to the questioning and testimony on Tuesday, briefly turning the Irish courtroom into a British court. AP has more. The Irish Times has local coverage.

In December 2007, a Belfast judge found alleged Real IRA member Sean Gerard Hoey not guilty of murder [JURIST report] in relation to the bombing, ruling that there was insufficient DNA evidence linking Hoey to the bomb to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he made the device. The only conviction in connection with the Omagh bombing was in 2002 against Colm Murphy, which was later quashed for mishandling of evidence [JURIST report]. Murphy's retrial is pending. In 2005, the Irish Public Prosecution Service dropped charges [JURIST report] against another suspect, Anthony Joseph Donegan. The Real IRA is a splinter group of the Provisional Irish Republican Army [MI5 profile] opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process.



 

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