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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 16:35 GMT
In quotes: Reaction to the Omagh verdict
Here is a round-up of reaction to the verdict in the Omagh bomb trial.

MR JUSTICE WEIR

I am acutely aware that the stricken people of Omagh and every other right-thinking member of the Northern Ireland community would very much wish to see whoever was responsible for the outrageous offence of August 1998 and other serious crimes in this series of terrorist incidents convicted and punished for their crimes according to law.

POLICE STATEMENT

The Police Service accepts the court's decision to acquit Sean Hoey of all charges against him and expresses its deep regret that the many victims and their relatives have not yet seen anyone made amenable for these crimes. The Service will study Mr Justice Weir's judgement in detail and will work to ensure that any organisational or procedural shortcomings are addressed. We also await the outcome of a Police Ombudsman investigation into two officers who gave evidence during the trial.

MICHAEL GALLAGHER, FATHER OF VICTIM

There are at least 10 people who will be sitting at their Christmas dinner this year who were involved in the Omagh bomb, and the intelligence service know these men. I have never spoken against this investigation team in its history, but without doubt you cannot help but feel extremely let down by what has happened today.

VICTOR BARKER, FATHER OF VICTIM

When the judge delivered his final comment that Hoey was not guilty, and there was no reason that he shouldn't be released, there was an enormous cheer from Hoey's supporters. Some of the comments made in that court showed a total disrespect for the families of the deceased people.

LAWRENCE RUSH, HUSBAND OF VICTIM

I'm stressed but not over-disappointed. I wouldn't have liked the wrong man to be charged. I would need time to think about this - it's devastating, it's a disaster the way that this investigation was held and I can say no more about it.

STANLEY MCCOMBE, HUSBAND OF VICTIM

I'm flabbergasted, dumbfounded. I do not know what to think. All the resources over the last nine and a half years have not got us anywhere.

RITA HOEY, SEAN HOEY'S MOTHER

As a mother, I would personally like to thank those from among the Omagh families who have all suffered immensely, but eventually saw this as an injustice and had the moral conviction to speak out. I want the world to know that my son Sean Hoey is innocent. The authorities north and south have held two separate trials, but one witch-hunt. In both trials, police officers have been exposed as lying through their teeth to secure convictions at any cost. Those very people, north and south, blocked at every turn a cross-border public inquiry. I want to ask the question regarding the Omagh tragedy, who has most to fear from such an inquiry?

CHIEF INSPECTOR NORMAN BAXTER

I would say that the investigation team that I have led since May 2002 reviewed the evidence as it then was and we presented the evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It went through a preliminary inquiry where there was felt to be a prima facia case and there a due process in the court here last year and the judge retired finding there was sufficient evidence for him to consider.

PETER CORRIGAN, SEAN HOEY'S SOLICITOR

Sean Hoey has always denied the charges, all the charges preferred against him. Today's judgement - a reasoned, lengthy and well considered judgement - completely vindicated this position that he maintained. Sean Hoey is an innocent man.

PUBLIC PROSECUTION SERVICE

The decision to prosecute Sean Hoey was made following a careful analysis of the available evidence. It was concluded that the evidence was sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction. That evidence has properly been the subject of rigorous scrutiny in the course of the trial. At the close of the prosecution case, the trial judge ruled that the evidence against Sean Hoey was sufficiently strong that the tribunal of fact, properly directed upon the law, could find him guilty of the offences charged. Given the ruling of the trial judge, the PPS considers that the decisions which it took as to prosecution were properly taken.

STAN BROWN, FORENSIC SCIENCE NI

First and foremost we recognise the pain and suffering of the families of the 29 people who lost their lives. This is a detailed judgment Justice Weir has arrived at. As chief executive of the Forensic Science Service, it is important now to take time to consider the judgment fully. We will look carefully at this judgment and take whatever steps necessary. Where there are lessons to be learnt we will learn them and where there are improvements to be made we will make them.

ALEX MASKEY, SINN FEIN

The verdict delivered today by Mr Justice Weir is a damning indictment of the police handling of the investigation from start to finish. I will be requesting a full report into the handling of the Omagh investigation, including the conduct of senior police officers at the next meeting of the Policing Board. Sinn Fein supports the call for the urgent establishment of a public inquiry which can get to the truth about Omagh.

MONICA MCWILLIAMS, HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

On 18 January 2007, following a series of meetings with the Omagh families the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights Commission called on the British and Irish governments to establish a Cory-style review into the Omagh bombing and surrounding events. We reiterate this position today and recommend that a serving or retired judge of international standing, should be appointed to examine all available material to determine whether it is appropriate to institute an independent, cross-border or public inquiry into the atrocity.

SIR DESMOND REA, POLICING BOARD

The Omagh bombing was a terrible atrocity and has had a devastating impact for all those families who lost loved ones and who were injured in the attack. Their suffering continues. Copies of the judgment and verdict of Mr Justice Weir to acquit Mr Sean Hoey on all counts are being sent to all Board Members. Members of the Board will note in particular Mr Justice Weir's final conclusion. Having carefully studied the judgment, the Board will discuss Mr Justice Weir's findings and the issues arising from the case with the chief constable at the earliest opportunity.



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