Friday 19 January 2018

Omagh bombing case 'built on phone, forensic and witness evidence'

Seamus Daly
Seamus Daly
Seamus Daly's heavily pregnant wife, Aine

David Young

The prosecution case against a high-profile republican charged with murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing is based on phone, forensic and witness evidence, a court heard.

A detective said the decision to charge Seamus Daly (43), who has previously been successfully sued over the Real IRA outrage, had been taken in consultation with the "highest level" of the North's Public Prosecution Service after reviewing a range of evidence allegedly linking the Co Monaghan bricklayer and publican with the August 1998 attack.

Appearing at Dungannon Magistrates Court, Daly, originally from Cullaville, Co Monaghan but now residing in Jonesborough, Co Armagh, was remanded in custody after Judge Paul Conway refused a bail application.

Daly, who has a previous conviction in the Republic for IRA membership, has already been found liable for the Omagh bomb in a landmark civil case heard at Belfast High Court.

On Thursday, detectives charged him with 29 counts of murder and a number of other charges.

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 was arrested on Monday as he accompanied his wife Aine to the local hospital's maternity unit.

Arguing for bail, his lawyer Dermot Fee told the court that the baby's due date – the couple's second child – was yesterday.

Opposing bail, the PSNI detective said Daly claimed to be his brother when he was stopped by police and was only formally identified through fingerprint analysis.

Judge Conway said he was concerned that Daly could potentially cross the border and refused bail. He was remanded in custody to appear in court again via video link in the summer.

After outlining broad details of the case against Daly, the PSNI detective said the accused responded "no comment" to every question asked during interviews but had given a pre-prepared statement to police denying all the counts.

The 29 victims, who included a woman pregnant with twins, died after the dissident republican car bomb detonated in Omagh town centre on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Five years ago Daly was one of four men found responsible for the bombing at Belfast High Court after being sued by some of the victims' families.

The men were ordered to pay £1.6m (€1.9m) to the bereaved relatives – money they are still pursuing.

Press Association

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