Families of Omagh victims seek documents as part of civil action

The families of some of those killed in the Omagh bombing are seeking the discovery of documentation from five individuals who have appeared before the Special Criminal Court and are being sued for damages arising out of the 1998 explosion that killed 29 people, the High Court in Dublin heard today.

The families of some of those killed in the Omagh bombing are seeking the discovery of documentation from five individuals who have appeared before the Special Criminal Court and are being sued for damages arising out of the 1998 explosion that killed 29 people, the High Court in Dublin heard today.

The families have brought a motion where they are seeking from the five men the discovery of documents, including books of evidence and the transcripts of criminal trials involving each of the five, which the families say are relevant to a damages action which is to take place before the High Court in Belfast.

The five men in which discovery is being sought are Michael McKevitt

(54) Beech Park, Blackrock, Co Louth, who was jailed for 20 years for organising terrorist activities.

His appeal against his conviction is currently being considered by the Supreme Court.

The others are Seamus Daly, from Culloville, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, was sentenced to three years after being found guilty of membership of an illegal organisation.

Liam Campbell, from Upper Faughart, Dundalk, who was jailed for membership of an illegal organisation.

Seamus McKenna, formerly of Silverbridge, Co Armagh, but with an address at Marian Park, Dundalk, who was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for unlawful possession of explosives.

Last year the High Court in Dublin rejected a bid by the fifth defendant in the proceedings, Mr Colm Murphy (53), a native of Co Armagh with an address at Jordan's Corner, Ravensdale, Co Louth to stop his re-trial on a conspiracy charge to cause an explosion.

Mr Murphy was freed on bail in 2005 after the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed his conviction and 14 year sentence for the conspiracy offence.

The appeal court overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial, which was due to begin last January after finding that the non-jury Special Criminal Court had failed to give proper regard to altered Garda interview notes.

It found there had been "an invasion of the presumption of innocence" in the SCC judgment on Mr Murphy.

During his trial in 2001 and 2002, Mr Murphy 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 13th and 16th, 1998.

All five are opposing the action, and claim that there is an impediment against the discovery of the material being sought.

Today at the High Court in Dublin Counsel for the families Maurice Collins SC said that what was being sought in this instance was the discovery of materials in the ordinary way for civil proceedings due to be heard before the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Collins denied that the five men would be prejudiced by discovering these materials, and denied that there was any impediment that would prohibit the documentation being handed over.

Counsel added that the DPP had "no difficulty" in the materials that are being sought being disclosed.

The hearing before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan commenced in the High Court yesterday and will resume next week.

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