Man found civilly liable for Omagh bombing fails in High Court rights challenge

Liam Campbell awaiting appeal outcome on extradition to Lithuania

Liam Campbell is awaiting the outcome of an appeal over his extradition to Lithuania on terrorism charges. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

Liam Campbell is awaiting the outcome of an appeal over his extradition to Lithuania on terrorism charges. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

It would be “utterly pointless” to grant an order sought by a man found civilly liable for the Omagh bombing to vindicate his rights pending the outcome of his appeal over his extradition to Lithuania on terrorism charges, a High Court judge said.

Liam Campbell (58), of Upper Faughart, Dundalk, Co Louth, is currently awaiting a Court of Appeal judgment on his appeal against a High Court order last June for his extradition.

The Lithuanian authorities allege that, while acting in an organised terrorist group, the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), he made arrangements to acquire a substantial number of firearms and explosives from Lithuania and smuggle them into Ireland.

It is further alleged that during the end of 2006 to 2007, Campbell made arrangements with others to travel to Lithuania for the purposes of acquiring firearms and explosives, including, automatic rifles, sniper guns, projectors, detonators, timers and trotyl (TNT)”.

He was arrested in Dundalk on December 2nd, 2016, on foot of the second European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by Lithuanian authorities. It was the third attempt overall by Lithuania to seek his surrender.

Last May, while a decision on the High Court extradition was awaited, he brought a separate challenge against Ireland and the Attorney General, claiming his rights under EU law and the Charter of Fundamental rights had been infringed by a failure to transpose certain EU Framework Directives into Irish law.

He sought declarations from the court, including that there was a failure to transpose into domestic law a 2008 Framework Decision (2008/909/JHA) governing the transfer of a prisoner to another State to serve a portion of his sentence.

He claimed there has been a failure to transpose a 2009 decision (2009/829/JHA) on mutual recognition to decisions on supervision measures as an alternative to provisional detention, which covers the question of being remanded on bail.

The defendants denied the claims.

The State said he failed to show he had an enforceable right that has been breached.

It also argued the 2009 Framework Decision is currently being transposed in the Criminal Justice (Mutual Recognition of Decisions on Supervision Act) 2020 and is expected to be enacted in the near future. Therefore Mr Campbell has not been detrimentally affected and his rights have not been infringed.

In a decision dismissing the challenge, delivered last month and published on Monday, Mr Justice Paul Coffey said he was satisfied it would be “pointless and serve no useful purpose” to grant the declaration sought in circumstances in which even Mr Campbell’s own counsel readily acknowledged it would not require the State to take any action.

Instead, he said, it would be merely an “intensely modest” and polite relief that will in effect do no more than encourage the State to continue to do what it is already doing, namely, preparing legislation to give legal effect to the Framework Decision within the current year.

He also said there was “an insuperable difficulty” for Mr Campbell, the remedy is not available for something to redress loss and damage that is anticipated at some unknown time in the future, but which has not yet occurred and which may never occur.

This was so because, as in this case, Mr Campbell may never become a “sentenced person” or because the State will have implemented the Framework Decision by the time that he has,the judge said.