28 April 2006

Judge throws out Omagh bomb suspect's legal challenge


28/04/2006 - 15:04:46

The trial of the man charged with the Omagh bomb atrocity should go ahead in September, a judge ruled today.

Confirmation that Sean Hoey, aged 36, should stand trial came when a judge threw out an application by lawyers acting for the electrician that the charges should be dropped.

In a ruling at Belfast Crown Court Mr Justice Weir said he had carefully considered submissions made by both the defence and the Crown during a No Bills Application and had decided there was a case to answer and the charges should stand.

Hoey stood in the dock and formally pleaded not guilty to 29 charges of murdering the victims of the Real IRA car bomb attack in the Co Tyrone town in August 1998.

Hoey faces a total of 58 charges relating to the Omagh bomb massacre and a series of other terrorist strikes across the North at around the same period.

As well as murder he pleaded not guilty to a series of charges including conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause explosion, causing an explosion and possession of explosives with intent.

Hoey, who has been in custody for nearly three years, was again remanded in custody.

Mr Justice Weir told lawyers representing both Crown and defence that he wanted no slippage in plans for the trial to start in September.

He told them: “I expect anything that needs to be attended to be attended to in the next month or so.”

The case was lifted for a review on June 2 to ensure there are not any problems to prevent a September start.

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