Men found guilty of Omagh bomb to appeal

Lawyer for Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly says pair will challenge this week’s ruling

Colm Murphy (pictured) and Seamus Daly, who were found liable for the Omagh bombing following a landmark civil action taken by relatives of  the victims, plan to appeal the verdict, it emerged today. Photograph:  Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Colm Murphy (pictured) and Seamus Daly, who were found liable for the Omagh bombing following a landmark civil action taken by relatives of the victims, plan to appeal the verdict, it emerged today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 17:43

Two republicans found liable for the Omagh bomb atrocity are set to appeal the verdict, it emerged today.

A lawyer for Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly confirmed they intend to proceed with an automatic right to challenge the ruling against them. Earlier this week a High Court judge found compelling and overwhelming evidence of their involvement in the Real IRA massacre.

Twenty nine people, including the mother of unborn twins, died in the August 1998 explosion. Hundreds more were badly injured.

Mr Murphy, a Dundalk-based contractor and publican, and former employee Mr Daly, from Culaville, Co Monaghan, were sued by some victims’ relatives in a landmark legal action.

The pair were ordered to face a retrial after successfully appealing against being found responsible in 2009. Two other men, convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt and fellow dissident republican Liam Campbell, failed to have the findings against them overturned.

During the second hearing it was claimed that Mr Murphy supplied mobile phones to the bomb team. Mr Daly was allegedly linked by a call made on one of the phones just after the explosion.

On Wednesday Mr Justice Gillen ruled that both men were liable on the balance of probabilities. He identified compelling circumstantial evidence that two mobiles linked to Mr Murphy were used in the attack.

The builder’s denials about lending his phone to anyone and subsequent explanation to gardai amounted to lies with no innocent explanation, according to the judge.

The same verdict was returned against Mr Daly, based on his conversation on one of the bomb run phones less than an hour after the explosion. His guilty plea and conviction for Real IRA membership in November 2000 was also taken into account.

The ruling makes both defendants liable for an award of damages previous set at £1.6 million (€1.9 million). The victims relatives have pledged to relentlessly pursue all four men now held responsible for the money.

Following judgment their senior barrister, Lord Brennan QC claimed there was “zero” prospect of Murphy and Daly being able to overturn the decision on appeal, and called for the nine-year legal battle to finally come to an end.

But a lawyer who represents both defendants disclosed today that they are once again preparing to contest the verdict against them. Mark O’Connor, of Larkin, O’Connor and Cassidy Solicitors, confirmed: “We are planning to appeal the judgment.”

Grounds on which the challenge is to be mounted are expected to be set out at a later date.