Murphy ‘fully confident’ of winning Omagh retrial

24 January 2005
By John Breslin

COLM MURPHY, whose conviction in connection with the Omagh bombing was overturned on Friday, expects to walk out of Portlaoise Prison on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old former builder, who claims to have been financially destroyed following his arrest and subsequent conviction, said relatives are trying to raise the cash so he can make bail.

Murphy must make a cash lodgement of €50,000 and provide two independent sureties of
€25,000 each before he is released from prison.

"It will happen around Wednesday because it will take some time to raise the money. I'm on legal aid. I'm relying on relatives to raise the money," he said.

The former builder told the Sunday Business Post he is "fully confident" of winning his retrial. It was ordered after three Court of Criminal Appeal judges ruled his conviction for conspiring to help the Omagh bombers is unsafe.

He is the only man to be convicted in connection with the bombing. He denies any involvement and his retrial could be held within the next few months as extra judges are to be appointed to speed up Special Criminal Court cases.

The appeal court ruled that the conviction was unsafe on two grounds. The three trial judges failed to bring to the "issue of the possible contamination of evidence or to the evaluation of the surviving that degree of extra critical analysis" warranted after allegations emerged that two gardaí falsified interview notes and lied under oath.

They also should not have referred to previous convictions when making their judgment.

Murphy, who says three years in jail led to the collapse of his marriage, said his lawyers knew from day one the conviction was unsafe. As soon as the judges referred to his previous convictions, his lawyers felt the conviction would not stand up on appeal, he said.

The families of victims of the bombing have called for a full public inquiry into what they believe to be a deeply flawed investigation in to the bombing, both here and in the North.

In Omagh, there is anger at the quashing of Colm Murphy's conviction. One Saturday shopper told RTÉ: "People are hurt and upset that this is going on and on forever."

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, asked whether the court judgment that the conviction was unsafe proved the investigation was flawed, said: "The Omagh investigation continues on, and will continue on. In the end I don't know about the present prosecution but in the end, I don't think the Omagh investigation is going to end.

"They have a huge amount of intelligence as you know, but proving it in these cases is always difficult," said Mr Ahern in Hong Kong as he prepared to return home following a week-long trade mission to China.

In a separate but related development, Detective Sergeant John White, who claims an informant gave him critical information that may have prevented the bombing, has threatened to name in open court a senior garda whom he claims ignored the warning.

Det Sgt White, cleared this week of six charges of making false statements and three counts of perverting the course of justice, said he will name the member who allegedly said: "John, we're going to let this one go through."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?