25 April 2006

Trial date fixed for Omagh accused Murphy

BN.ie

25/04/2006 - 11:55:31

The Special Criminal Court in Dublin today fixed a date next year for the trial of Colm Murphy, who is awaiting a retrial for offences connected with the Omagh bombing in 1998.

Murphy was freed on bail last year after the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed his conviction for conspiracy offences connected with the Real IRA bombing which killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, and injured more than 300 people.

Today, prosecution solicitor Mr Denis Butler told the court that he was seeking a trial date for early next year. The court fixed Murphy’s trial for January 11 next year and remanded him on continuing bail until then. Murphy was in court for the brief hearing today.

Murphy was jailed for 14 years by the Special Criminal Court in January 2002 for his alleged role in the Omagh bomb . He was the first person to be convicted in either the Republic or Northern Ireland in connection with the Real IRA bombing, the worst terrorist atrocity in the history of the 30 years of the Troubles.

In January last year, the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial after finding that the court of trial had failed to give proper regard to altered garda interview notes and that there had been "an invasion of the presumption of innocence" in the judgement on Murphy.

During a 25-day trial in 2001 and 2002, Murphy, (aged 53), a father of four, building contractor and publican who is a native of Co Armagh with an address at Jordan's Corner, Ravensdale, Co Louth had pleaded not guilty to conspiring in Dundalk with another person not before the court to cause an explosion in the State or elsewhere between August 13 and 16, 1998.

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