Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Omagh bomb conspiracy retrial of Colm Murphy begins

Colm Murphy
Colm Murphy was originally sentenced to 14 years in jail

The retrial has begun in Dublin of County Louth man Colm Murphy on charges connected to the 1998 Omagh bombing.

He was the only man convicted in connection with the Real IRA atrocity in which 29 people died.

However, in January 2005 his conviction was ruled unsafe because of alleged irregularities surrounding evidence given by detectives at his trial.

He faces a charge of conspiracy to cause an explosion between 13 and 16 August 1998. He denies the charge.

Colm Murphy, from Ravensdale near Dundalk, had been jailed for 14 years in 2002 but three years later a judge at Dublin's Court of Criminal Appeal granted a retrial on two grounds relating to the evidence of detectives at his trial.

Acquitted of perjury

In 2006, a judge in Dublin acquitted two Irish police officers of having committed perjury during the first trial, saying evidence against the men was inadmissible.

At the non-jury Special Criminal Court on Tuesday, lawyers for the accused objected to graphic detail of the Omagh bombing being outlined in the opening of the case.

Defence counsel Michael O Higgins said he would be making submissions on the admissibility of certain evidence.

He said his client was not charged with the Omagh bombing and the opening of the trial should not be "front-loaded" with prejudicial horrific evidence.

Last June, the accused was one of four men found liable for the Omagh bombing in a civil action in Belfast.

The alleged Real IRA members were ordered to pay £1.6m damages to 12 relatives who took the case against them.

The civil case has no bearing on the retrial underway in Dublin.



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