Omagh bomb trial to go ahead
Omagh bomb trial to go ahead

There are fears that a miscarriage of justice could take place in the case of a man accused of making the Omagh bomb.

South Armagh man Sean Hoey was committed for trial on Thursday, charged with the 1998 bomb attack in Omagh which killed 29 people.

He faces a totoal of 58 charges relating to a string of bomb attacks carried out by the breakaway ‘Real IRA’.

Mr Hoey was told by Belfast magistrate Desmond Perry that, after hearing three days of evidence at committal proceedings, he was satisfied there was a case to answer.

The trial is not expected to take place before next Spring.

Three charges relating to a bombing in Belfast were dismissed by the magistrate.

Mr Perry said: “The Crown invited me to look at the cumulative effect of the huge quantity of evidence that the defendant was the man who manufactured these 14 devices, the most devastating of which decimated the centre of Omagh and resulted in the tragic deaths of 29 innocent people.”

After dismissing defence efforts to have each charge looked at separately as “fatuous”, Mr Perry said: “I am satisfied there is a case to answer.”

Mr Perry noted that Hoey was an electrician by trade and said there had been evidence that bombs made in the North had soldering of a higher standard than those made by the Real IRA in other jurisdictions. He said that “indicated some degree of expertise”.

There was also DNA evidence in connection with eight such devices, for which, the magistrate said, he could find “no innocent explanation”.

Hoey’s solicitor, Peter Corrigan, said he was very disappointed at the magistrate’s ruling. “I don’t think it was the right decision,” he said.

Mr Corrigan said the evidence against his client was that he “may, or possibly” constructed bombs.

“That is not enough to send a man to trial on in one of the biggest cases in Irish or British history.”

He said the defence feared another Guildford Four or Birmingham Six scenario and a miscarriage of justice.

Police, said Mr Corrigan, had been under intense pressure to “try to construct a case around someone” since Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan issued a report which was “scathing” of the initial police investigation.

Mr Corrigan added: “I would ask anyone interested in justice to look at this case dispassionately before it is too late - don’t let it become another Guildford Four.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2005 Irish Republican News