20 August 2005

Omagh evidence move is rejected

Belfast Telegraph

Application can be made at committal hearing

20 August 2005

A BID to stop vital forensic evidence being given against the man accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing has been rejected in court.

Sean Hoey, a 35-year-old electrician, from Molly Road, Jonesborough, south Armagh, faces 61 terrorist and explosives charges including the Real IRA bombing in Omagh seven years ago.

A committal hearing is due to start on August 30 but at Belfast Magistrates' Court yesterday Hoey's solicitor Peter Corrigan applied to have the evidence of a forensic scientist declared inadmissible.

Mr Corrigan said the extent of the scientist's evidence was that he had found similarities between the Omagh bomb and other devices with which Hoey was charged.

"His evidence is that possibly the same person constructed all the devices and that is not evidence," said Mr Corrigan.

"It is so blatantly prejudicial that it should not be admitted at the committal hearing."

Crown counsel Ciaran Murphy submitted that the proper forum to make such an application was the committal hearing when the disputed evidence could be considered in the context of all the evidence.

He added that a week had been set aside for the committal hearing and the examining magistrate had been supplied with a synopsis of all the evidence, including the forensic statements.

Resident Magistrate Philip Mateer ruled that the committal hearing was the proper place for the defence to make their application and he remanded Hoey in custody.

The hearing yesterday was conducted by video link with Maghaberry Prison but the court was told that he will be brought to court for the committal hearing.

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