Omagh bombing convict wins appeal

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The Independent Online

Colm Murphy, the only man jailed in connection with the Omagh bombing, today won his appeal against his conviction.

Colm Murphy, the only man jailed in connection with the Omagh bombing, today won his appeal against his conviction.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin ruled that the 52-year-old, from Ravensdale, Co Louth, should be granted a retrial on two grounds.

Colm Murphy was jailed in 2002 at the Special Criminal Court for conspiring to cause the Real IRA explosion which killed 29 people, including a mother pregnant with unborn twins in August 1998.

Security was tight in the packed courtroom, with Murphy flanked by Gardai on allsides, and every person entering was scanned.

The Murphy family looked on as the three judges delivered their verdict.

Murphy, who was dressed in a crumpled zip-up jacket and checked shirt, sat quietly as the three judges ordered a retrial.

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, presiding, said the court had decided that Murphy'sconviction was unsafe in respect of two grounds.

He said the first ground was the Special Criminal Court approach to the alteration of Garda interview notes and the evidence given in this respect by two Garda officers.

He said the second ground was the Special Criminal Court invasion of Murphy's presumption of innocence by having regard to his previous convictions. He said that all other grounds submitted by Murphy's lawyers had been rejected.

After the hearing Murphy's sister Angela Reilly and another young woman wentover to the defendant in the courtroom.

Ms Reilly spent several minutes talking to him while the other woman knelt down in front of him.

Murphy was then led away in handcuffs by six gardai to await an army patrol to bring him back to prison. He was remanded in custody until he met the bail requirements.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Reilly said: "We are relieved. It's been a terrible time for us all."

She added: "He is doing okay, better than three years ago when justice wasn't served."On whether the family would be able to meet bail, she said: "We hope so."

His solicitor, Michael Farrell, said: "We have no comment to make whatsoever.

"The judgment speaks for itself."

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