20/12/2007

Omagh Bomb Trial Returns Not Guilty Verdict

A not guilty verdict was returned in the trial of a man accused of killing 29 people in the Omagh bombing.

Sean Hoey, 38, from Jonesborough, Co Armagh was cleared on a total of 56 charges relating to the 1998 bombing.

The attack, which devastated the Co Tyrone town, was carried out by the Real IRA.

The trial at Belfast Crown Court which lasted for 56 days ended in January. Mr Justice Weir delivered his verdict before relatives of those killed in the August 1998 bomb.

Family members were able to follow developments during the trial from Omagh by watching a special satellite video link with the Belfast court.

The prosecution case brought against Mr Hoey hinged on DNA evidence, specifically a type called low copy DNA.

However, the technique was strongly challenged by Hoey's defence team and during the hearing experts differed on how reliable they believed it to be.

They also challenged the integrity of some of the police and forensic witnesses while Mr Hoey himself did not go into the witness box.

Following a highly critical report by the Police Ombudsman, police launched a fresh inquiry in 2002 into the atrocity.

(BMcC)

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