11/06/2009

PSNI 'Consider Omagh Retrial'

The PSNI are examining the possibility of a retrial of a South Armagh man originally cleared of involvement in the Omagh bombing.

South Armagh man Sean Hoey was cleared of murdering of 29 people in Omagh, at the end of his trial in December 2007, which failed to secure any convictions against those charged with the devastating attack.

At a meeting of Northern Ireland Policing Board on Thursday, an investigation by the Police Ombudsman concluded there was no evidence to support the claim officers had lied and questioned the defence team's claim the evidence from Altmore Forest had been wrongly handled, which had been crucial aspects of the original trial's failure.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris told the board on Thursday that police have been "reviewing the entire case."

Chief Constable Harris said: "After the ombudsman reports of February this year we have revisited all of the evidence again, not only in respect of the Omagh bombing but other bombing attacks around that time involving the Real IRA.

"Working through that what we are looking for is new evidential opportunities, realistically we have to find substantial new evidence if there is any possibility of a criminal prosecution."

When the review is completed, it will be up to the Public Prosecution Service to decide if there is enough evidence to merit a new trial.

The news comes as four of the five men being sued by the families of the Omagh bomb victims were found liable for the atrocity carried out by the Real IRA in 1998.

(DW/JM)

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