Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Man responsible for Omagh bomb denied his release

One of the men found liable for the Omagh bombing has lost his High Court bid to be released from prison in Northern Ireland.

Liam Campbell is being held in custody while Lithuanian authorities seek his extradition over an alleged arms smuggling plot.

His lawyers applied for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by claiming his continued detention at Maghaberry Prison was unlawful.

They combined their request to have him let out of jail with an attempt to quash the decision to hold extradition proceedings in Belfast rather than Dublin.

But after hearing the case judges dismissed both applications and said they would give their reasons at a later date.

Lord Justice Higgins told the court they had decided to announce their decision within days of the hearing because Campbell's potential liberty was at stake.

The 46-year-old, from Upper Faughart, Dundalk, Co Louth, is wanted in Lithuania over a suspected operation to acquire and ship guns, ammunition and explosives from the eastern European state to Ireland.

In June he was held to be responsible, along with three other men, for the Omagh atrocity following a landmark civil action brought by relatives of some of the 29 people killed in the August 1998 blast.

A judge said there was cogent evidence Campbell was a member of the Real IRA's Army Council.

He was arrested in south Armagh in May after crossing the border to take his wife to work.

Earlier this month Belfast Recorder Tom Burgess ruled that the extradition hearing should take place in Northern Ireland because Lithuania wanted the case to be heard in the UK.

Seeking leave to apply for a judicial review, Campbell's barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC argued that Judge Burgess had got it wrong.

Gerry Simpson QC, for the Lithuanian government, cautioned against any suggestion of scheming or manipulation in the case. He also said an arrest warrant in the Republic had been withdrawn after the decision to proceed in Northern Ireland.