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3rd-Oct-2016 12:58 pm - Men behind Omagh bomb lose European court bid to overturn £1.6m claim by victims
Belfast Telegraph
29 Sept 2016

Michael McKevitt

Real IRA Leader Michael McKevitt had appealed over a civil court finding against him.

A bid by two republicans to overturn a landmark civil ruling that found them responsible for the Omagh bomb has been rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.

Convicted Real IRA chief Michael McKevitt and Co Louth man Liam Campbell were two of four republicans ordered to pay £1.6 million in damages to bereaved relatives who took the historic case.

The Real IRA outrage in the Co Tyrone market town in August 1998 killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, and injured 200 others.

The pair took their case to Europe, arguing that the civil trial in Belfast High Court had been unfair.

They said the judge should have applied a criminal rather a civil standard of proof, due to the severity of the allegations, and further claimed that the evidence of an FBI agent heard during the trial should not have been admitted.

The seven ECHR judges unanimously rejected the case and made clear their decision was final.

"The applicants had not demonstrated that their trial was unfair, and the Court dismissed their applications," said an ECHR statement.

McKevitt was jailed for 20 years in August 2003 after being convicted of directing a terrorist organisation and being a member of the Real IRA.

The ECHR case was the latest in a series of separate legal attempts by the four defendants to overturn the 2009 civil judgment.

The relatives who took the action are still pursuing the damages.

No one has ever been criminally convicted of the bomb, which inflicted the most bloodshed of an single atrocity during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

One of the key witnesses in the families' case was FBI agent David Rupert, who had infiltrated the Real IRA.

He did not attend the trial in person due to concerns about his security and medical condition.

McKevitt and Campbell argued that their lawyers' inability to cross-examine Mr Rupert had been unfair.

The ECHR dismissed this argument, insisting the trial judge had taken the "appropriate safeguards and considerations" in dealing with the evidence of an absent witness.

The applicants also claimed the judge should have applied a criminal standard of proof - beyond reasonable doubt - rather than a civil one - balance of probabilities - due to the severity of the allegations facing them.

The European judges said that was not necessary because the proceedings had been for a civil claim for damages and there had been no criminal charge involved.

Rejecting both grounds for the application, the ECHR said: "The Court found that the national court's findings could not be said to have been arbitrary or unreasonable."

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was killed in the bomb, described the ruling as "vindication" for the families.

"We feel like we have been under siege since the first judgment, with appeal after appeal," he said.

"We are relieved it is now over. The families have been vindicated.

"Enormous expense has been paid by taxpayers to make sure these people got the best of British and European justice. The British and Irish Governments must now make sure the interests of the victims comes first."

He said the authorities had to help the families recover the money owed to them.

"It would be a very hollow judgment if it was only words," he said.

"These people value money and it's where it can hurt them and both governments must work together to make sure the families receive the money that was awarded to them."

Mr Gallagher made clear the bereaved relatives would continue to campaign for a full cross-border inquiry into the Omagh bombing, amid persistent claims the outrage could have been prevented.

Diane Dodds, Democratic Unionist MEP, said it was unfair that the men had access to legal aid to fight their case in Europe and branded it an abuse of human rights laws.

"The reality is whilst these individuals had full access to legal aid during the appeal process, the families of those murdered in the Omagh bombing have not received a single penny from the civil ruling," she said.

"Innocent victims are tired of these double-standards."

17th-Feb-2015 02:34 pm - Seamus Daly: Omagh bomb accused to stand trial
BBC
17 February 2015



Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the 1998 attack

The man accused of murdering 29 people in the 1998 Omagh bomb will be prosecuted, a court has been told.

Seamus Daly, 44, is originally from Culloville, County Monaghan, but now has an address at Kilnasaggart Road in Jonesborough, County Armagh.

He appeared at Omagh Magistrates' Court via video-link.

Mr Daly was one of four men ordered to pay more than £1.5m in damages to the families of those killed in the Real IRA attack in August 1998.

He was one of five men named in a BBC Panorama programme, Who Bombed Omagh, in October 2000, that investigated the attack.

Seamus Daly was remanded into continuing custody until 10 March

No-one has ever been convicted of carrying out the bombing in a criminal court.

Mr Daly has been in custody since April 2014.

A prosecution barrister told the court a substantial amount of evidence relating to mobile phones has been requested from the authorities in the Republic of Ireland, and should be available in six weeks.

What was described as "other more complex material" were subject to legal issues that could take a further four months to resolve.

A defence lawyer said the prosecution had no new evidence since 1999 and his client had been living openly in Jonesborough at all times yet now faced "the biggest murder trial in British criminal history".

The judge remanded Mr Daly into continuing custody until 10 March for a further update on progress in the case.

Relatives of four of the victims of the Omagh bombing were in the court for the hearing.

12th-Apr-2014 05:52 am - Omagh bombing suspect was arrested at maternity unit

Accused, Seamus Daly, faces 29 counts of murder over 1998 Real IRA attack in Northern Ireland that tried to derail peace process. He pretended to be his brother when stopped by police

Tom Whitehead
Telegraph.co.uk
11 April 2014



Seamus Daly, accused of the Omagh bombing in 1998, arrives at court in Dungannon, Northern Ireland. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Omagh bomb suspect Seamus Daly was arrested as he attended a maternity unit with his heavily pregnant wife, a court was told.

Daly, 43, was held on Monday at a hospital in Newry, Northern Ireland, after a decision to arrest him for 1998 atrocity was taken in consultation with prosecutors at the “highest level”.

He claimed to be his own brother when stopped and was only formally identified through fingerprint analysis.

He appeared before Dungannon Magistrates' Court on Friday charged with 29 counts of murder in connection with the bloodiest outrage of the Troubles.

The prosecution comes a year after a civil court ruled that Daly was liable for the atrocity.

Dungannon magistrates heard that the prosecution case against him is based on phone, forensic and witness evidence.

A detective said the decision to charge Daly, originally from Cullaville, Co Monaghan, had been taken in consultation with the "highest level" of Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service after reviewing a range of evidence allegedly linking the bricklayer and publican with the August 1998 attack.

Daly, who now lives in Jonesborough, Co Armagh, was remanded in custody after deputy District Judge Paul Conway refused a bail application.

His lawyer told the court that Friday was the due date for Daly and his wife’s second child.

No one has ever been successfully convicted in the criminal courts for the Real IRA bombing in Omagh, Co Tyrone, which happened just months after the Good Friday Agreement.

A 500lb car bomb was detonated on Market Street which left 29 people dead and 200 injured.

In 2009, bereaved families were forced to take their own action in the civil courts and won a landmark ruling at Belfast High Court when a senior judge found four men, including Daly, liable for the bombing.

Daly, along with Michael McKevitt, Liam Campbell and Colm Murphy, were ordered to pay £1.6 million to the families in compensation.

Daly and Murphy appealed and were granted a retrial in the civil courts but were found liable for a second time in 2013.

Dressed in jeans and a dark grey hooded top, an unshaven Daly did not speak during the half-hour hearing in court.

He also faces counts of causing the explosion in Omagh; possession of a bomb in the Co Tyrone market town with intent to endanger life or property; conspiring to cause an explosion in Lisburn, Co Down in April 1998; and possession of the Lisburn bomb with intent.

He sat in the dock only yards in front of the public gallery, where Michael Gallagher, whose son 21-year-old Aiden died in the blast, looked on.

After the hearing Mr Gallagher said: “This is part of our life for the past 15 and half years and if it's happening we are going to be there, wherever that is.

“It was important for our presence for the people, in our case our son Aiden, it was important to be there and represent him because there was no one else going to do it."

Mr Gallagher said the latest legal proceedings linked to the case would not sidetrack the families' campaign for a cross-border public inquiry into alleged security failings in the lead-up and aftermath of the attack.

"We need the truth," he said.

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