Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Omagh detective demands apology

By Vincent Kearney
BBC Northern Ireland home affairs correspondent

Fiona Cooper and Philip Marshall
Fiona Cooper and Philip Marshall gave accurate evidence, the Ombudsman said

The detective who led the Omagh bombing investigation has called on the trial judge who accused two police officers of lying to issue a public apology.

The call came after the Police Ombudsman said he found no evidence of Mr Justice Weir's claim they engaged in a "deliberate and calculated deception.

Retired officer Norman Baxter said the judge's claim was a "grave injustice".

The former chief superintendent said he believed he and his colleagues had been "grievously and publicly wronged".

The Public Prosecution Service has also decided there were no grounds for charging the two officers, Fiona Cooper and Philip Marshall, with perjury.

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A police spokesperson said they welcomed the ombudsman's findings, adding they "will consider any recommendations and learning that has been identified".

Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson said that while the evidence given to the court by the two officers was confused, it was accurate.

"The judge interpreted the evidence, I'm saying that he interpreted it wrongly, we have evidence that he interpreted it wrongly," he said.

"But it's also understandable the trial judge came to the conclusion that he simply did not know whether he could believe the officers or not."

The ombudsman said he had identified a number of issues and failings that require further consideration, relating to the police's case preparation, documentation and disclosure.

They will be the subject of a further report and recommendations to Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, he said.



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Apology call for Omagh officers
20 Feb 09 |  Northern Ireland
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19 Feb 09 |  Northern Ireland

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