Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Man cleared of Omagh is to sue dead boy's father

The man cleared of the 29 murders in the Omagh bomb tragedy is to seek damages from the father of a young boy killed in the atrocity.

Lawyers for Sean Hoey (38) are also considering taking legal action against the Public Prosecution Service for taking the case against him.

Mr Hoey has been angered by comments made by Victor Barker, whose 12-year-old son James died in the 1998 bomb, after yesterday's judgment.

Kevin Winters, Mr Hoey's legal representative, said Mr Barker's remarks, which were carried by certain media outlets, were actionable.

"Sean Hoey refutes completely the allegations made by Victor Barker when he persists in blaming him for Omagh," said Mr Winters.

"Mr Hoey is an innocent man and the court's judgment is an emphatic endorsement of his innocence. We will not hesitate to use the courts again to protect his name.

"The comments made yesterday and repeated in some newspapers today will be actionable. In addition we are considering a malicious prosecution civil action against the prosecuting authorities following yesterday's judgment."

Mr Hoey, an electrician from Jonesborough, was cleared of 56 charges relating to Omagh and other dissident republican bomb attacks in Belfast Crown Court yesterday.

In setting Mr Hoey free, Justice Weir delivered a damning appraisal of the police handling of the case.

Past and present police chiefs were today facing a string of questions in the wake of the not guilty verdicts.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board is now seeking an early meeting with PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde.

And ex-RUC head Sir Ronnie Flanagan is under fire from angry relatives of Omagh victims over the original bomb investigation.

The families are today continuing to press for a full scale cross-border public inquiry.

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