An electrician is to be charged later this month with murdering 29 people who died in the 1998 Omagh bomb massacre, the Northern Ireland High Court was told today.
Papers are to be served on Sean Gerard Hoey, 35, who is already in custody accused of a series of terrorist offences.
Although it was reported that police are set to bring charges against him over the worst single atrocity in Northern Ireland, his defence said today that had not yet happened.
But a Crown barrister disclosed the wheels were in motion during an adjourned bail application at the High Court in Belfast.
An initial court hearing is to take place on May 26 after papers are served on Hoey a week earlier.
Gordon Kerr QC said: "We can confirm that police received directions on April 19 that murder charges in relation to those killed in the Omagh bombing would be considered by a magistrate at a preliminary inquiry."
Hoey of Molly Road, Jonesborough, South Armagh, is facing 20 charges involving explosives and possessing timer units allegedly linked to several mortar, car and roadside bombs in the months before Omagh.
He is also accused of being a member of the Real IRA, the dissident republic terror group who carried out the August 1998 outrage.
A total of 29 people, including the mother of unborn twins, were killed when a 500lb car bomb ripped through the County Tyrone market town.
More than 300 others were injured in the blast.
In the lead-up to the attack, dissidents had targeted towns across Northern Ireland, and Hoey has been charged in connection with bombings at Forkhill and Crossmaglen, South Armagh; Lisburn, Co Antrim; Armagh City; Beleek, County Fermanagh; Newry, County Down; Blackwater Town, County Armagh; and two in Belfast.
In the High Court today his defence barrister, Martin O'Rourke said he had asked the Crown to give details of any new evidence that would lead to further charges against the defendant.
He said: "I have also ascertained from Mr Kerr that papers will contain some additional forensic reports relating to evidence against the defendant.
"At the moment we have been given limited access to some of the forensic reports. Obviously the picture will be complete when the full preliminary inquiry papers are available."
His request for a further adjournment to allow the legal team to study the documents was granted by the judge, Mr Justice Higgins.Reuse content