Omagh bombing accused may be freed on bail, judge says

Seamus Daly charged with 29 murders in 1998 attack

Royal Ulster Constabulary  officers and firefighters inspecting the damage caused by a bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1998. Photograph: Paul Mcerlane/PA Wire

Royal Ulster Constabulary officers and firefighters inspecting the damage caused by a bomb explosion in Market Street, Omagh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1998. Photograph: Paul Mcerlane/PA Wire

 

A judge at Omagh Magistrates Court has said she may consider a bail application for the man charged with 29 murders in the Omagh bomb of 1998.

Judge Bernie Kelly said she would do this if there is no progress in the prosecution case against Seamus Daly in the next six weeks.

Mr Daly (44), is charged with 29 counts of murder over the Real IRA car bomb attack in Omagh, Co Tyron in August 1998.

He also faces charges of causing the explosion in Omagh and possession of a bomb with intent to endanger life or property.

A prosecution lawyer told the court the Department of Justice in Dublin was seeking legal advice from the Attorney General as to whether two strands of evidence could be handed over.

“This is because of a Supreme Court decision that searches under Section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act were illegal,” the lawyer said. These strands relate to identification evidence against Mr Daly, and statements he made during Garda interviews.

The lawyer said the Public Prosecution Service met gardaí­ about another strand of evidence. “During the meeting, it was indicated by the Guards that the phone evidence had been collated,” he said.

However, he said two court hearings were required before it could be handed over. “It should be with the Public Prosecution Service in six weeks,” he said.

Judge Kelly said she was somewhat concerned. “If you are not in a more definite position in six weeks time, the case for bail is strengthened,” the judge said. The prosecution lawyer said that was perfectly reasonable.

Judge Kelly remanded Mr Daly in continuing custody until May 19th. She told a defence lawyer that he might wish to notify the prosecution on that date that the defence was applying for bail.