Pair ruled liable for Omagh bombing
on 20/03/2013 15:09:25
Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly were ordered to face a retrial after they successfully appealed a finding of liability against them in the original case in Belfast High Court.
But their second trial delivered the same outcome in the same court, with judge Mr Justice John Gillen ruling the men were responsible for the 1998 Real IRA atrocity.
Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins, died when the dissident republican car bomb ripped through the Co Tyrone market town on August 15 1998. More than 200 were injured in the blast.
No-one has been successfully criminally convicted of the bombing, but in 2009 Murphy, a builder and publican from Dundalk, Co Louth, and Daly, a bricklayer from Cullaville, Co Monaghan, and two others were held responsible in the initial civil action taken by some of the bereaved families.
Along with Real IRA chief Michael McKevitt and Co Louth republican Liam Campbell, the men were ordered to pay £1.6m (€1.86m) in damages.
McKevitt, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence in the Republic of Ireland for directing terrorism, and Campbell, who recently successfully fought extradition proceedings to Lithuania on arms smuggling charges, failed in their bids to overturn the Omagh civil judgment.
They are now seeking to have their case heard in the European Court of Human Rights.
Murphy and Daly's appeals were upheld but both men were ordered to face another trial. The retrial started in January and finished last month, with Mr Justice Gillen delivering his reserved judgment today.
Neither defendant was in court for the judgment. Both men also declined to give evidence during the trial.
Mr Justice Gillen said the case against them, which was primarily based on mobile phone evidence, was "overwhelming".
The judge said he had drawn a negative inference from their failure to provide any explanation in court.
"Given the strength and quality of the evidence, I have determined that both defendants were involved in assisting the preparation, planting and detonation of the bomb in circumstances where those involved in assisting those acts would be joint tortfeasors (individuals who committed a wrongful act injuring another person)," he said.