Northern Ireland

Omagh bomb: Two men fail to have appeals adjourned

Omagh bomb scene
Image caption The 1998 Omagh bomb left 29 people dead and many more injured

Two republicans held liable for the Omagh bombing have failed in a bid to have their appeal hearings put back.

Lawyers for Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly were seeking an adjournment over concerns about the availability of trial transcripts.

But judges due to hear their challenges in two weeks time refused to take the case out of the list.

Twenty-nine people, including the mother of unborn twins, were killed in the August 1998 Real IRA car bombing.

Hundreds more were badly injured.

Earlier this year, Murphy and Daly were held responsible for the Real IRA atrocity following a civil retrial at the High Court in Belfast.

A judge identified compelling and overwhelming evidence of their involvement in the attack.

Murphy, a Dundalk-based contractor and publican, and former employee Seamus Daly, from Culaville, County Monaghan, were sued by some victims' relatives in a landmark legal action.

Image caption Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly are to appeal against a civil case finding that they were liable for the Omagh bomb

They faced a second trial after successfully appealing against being held liable in an initial ruling in 2009.

Two other men, convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt and fellow dissident republican Liam Campbell, failed to have the findings against them overturned.

During the second hearing it was claimed that Murphy supplied mobile phones to the bomb team.

Daly was allegedly linked by a call made on one of the phones just after the explosion.

In March, Mr Justice Gillen ruled that both men were liable "on the balance of probabilities".

He identified compelling circumstantial evidence that two mobiles linked to Murphy were used in the attack.

The same verdict was returned against Daly, based on his conversation on one of the "bomb run phones" less than an hour after the explosion.

Daly's guilty plea and conviction for Real IRA membership in November 2000 was also taken into account.

The ruling left both defendants liable for an award of damages previously set at £1.6m.

Two weeks ahead of the scheduled opening, lawyers for the two men argued that they needed more time to obtain the relevant material.

Mary Higgins QC, for Daly, told the Court of Appeal: "To properly present this case the transcripts are required."

But Tony McGleenan QC, for the victims' relatives, insisted the appellants had not shown it was essential in the interests of justice.

"We say the matter should stay in the list in both cases," he added.

Rejecting the application, Lord Justice Higgins pointed out that Murphy and Daly's lawyers have their trial notes and can access CD recordings.

Lord Justice Higgins said: "We are not persuaded that an injustice will be caused to either appellant by the appeal proceeding on... 25 November."

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