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Ireland court dismisses case against only man charged in 1998 Omagh bombing

[JURIST] The Irish Special Criminal Court [official website] on Wednesday dismissed the case against the only man criminally convicted for a role in the 1998 Omagh bombing [BBC archive; JURIST news archive], finding [RTE News report] that the evidence against Colm Murphy was not strong enough to support the conviction. In 2002, The Special Criminal Court originally sentenced Murphy to 14 years in prison for providing cell phones to those who planted the bomb. Murphy was granted a retrial [JURIST report] in 2005 when the appeals court found that the evidence against him had been mishandled by the police. During the retrial, the court found that the tainted evidence, which included false statements and illegal references to Murphy's previous convictions, could not support the case.

Despite the lack of criminal convictions related to the bombing, which killed twenty-nine people and injured hundreds more, a civil lawsuit was successfully brought against those involved. In June, the Belfast High Court found [judgment text; JURIST report] four men, including Murphy, responsible for the bombing and awarded £1.64 million to 12 plaintiffs. In December 2007, a Belfast judge found Sean Gerard Hoey not guilty of murder [JURIST report] in relation to the bombing, ruling that there was insufficient DNA evidence linking Hoey to the bomb to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he made the device. In 2005, the Irish Public Prosecution Service dropped charges [JURIST report] against another suspect, Anthony Joseph Donegan.

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