Irish Republican News · January 17, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Omagh trial draws to a close

It would be a travesty of justice if the man accused of the Omagh bomb atrocity was convicted, his barrister today told the single judge who will decide his fate.

In his final submission to Justice Weir in the non-jury Diplock trial Orlando Pownall QC, said: “The Crown’s case has lurched from low point to low point as witnesses accepted they had lied and as one expert called by the prosecution undermined the evidence of another.”

He said the defence submitted that at each and every stage of the consideration process, the court “will be unavoidably wracked by doubt”.

Those tasked with representing Sean Hoey, he said, had been gifted with material with which it would be impossible not to create real and enduring doubt.

“The prosecution case cannot survive the taint of the beefing up of evidence by witnesses and exhibits being interfered with,” he said.

Insisting his client was innocent, Mr Pownall added: “Incontrovertible evidence showing that Sean Hoey was involved in Omagh has always been a mirage, an unobtainable goal.”

Mr Hoey, from Jonesborough, south Armagh, denies a total of 56 terrorist charges including the Omagh attack in which 29 people were slaughtered in 1998 and hundreds more injured.

The prosecution case relied heavily on DNA and fibre evidence said to have been taken from bomb parts which Hoey is alleged to have made.

Mr Pownall told Justice Weir, however, that there had been demonstrable and wide ranging shortcomings in the integrity of all the important exhibits in the case.

He said: “Unless the court is sure that the integrity of the DNA exhibits is unassailable and remains intact, the prosecution case must fail.”

“There is not an exhibit in the case upon which it is alleged DNA profiles matching Sean Hoey were found, in any meaningful sense, the integrity of which is beyond reproach,” he added.

It also emerged in written evidence this week from David Rupert, an FBI agent who infiltrated republican groups, also said that Mr Hoey had never been named by him to the FBI or the British Crown as having been involved or associated in any way with republican activity.

Justice Weir is expected to consider the evidence for between six and eight weeks before returning a verdict.

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