No evidence alleged phone supplier knew of Omagh plot, appeal hears
No clear evidence exists to back claims that a man accused of supplying phones to the Omagh bombers knew about the plot, the Court of Appeal has heard.
Nothing has been advanced either to show Colm Murphy was aware of an alleged change in Real IRA policy to reduce warning times, his lawyer argued.
Murphy (58), a builder and publican from Dundalk, Co Louth, is one of four dissident republicans challenging a verdict that they were liable for the |August 1998 atrocity which killed 29 people, including the mother of unborn twins.
Relatives of some of those murdered in the bombing were awarded damages of more than £1.6m in total after successfully suing the men.
In a landmark ruling in June 2009, Mr Justice Morgan, now the Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, also held that the Real IRA's Army Council bore responsibility for directing the attack.
The judgment is now being contested, with the victims' families also pressing for a more punitive award of exemplary damages against those held liable.
Murphy, the only man to be jailed in connection with the bombing, was cleared of conspiracy to cause an explosion following a retrial last year.
His counsel argued yesterday in the Court of Appeal against a finding in the civil action that he allowed his phones to be used knowing an attack was to be |carried out.
Dermot Fee QC said: “There is no clear evidence that the fifth named defendant (Murphy) knew what was to take place; whether this was an actual bomb, whether it was a hoax bomb, whether it was simply placing the vehicle, or in fact that he had any actual knowledge of what (they) were going to be used for.”
Mr Fee further contended that his client knew nothing about any suspected policy switch to give less advance warning in attacks leading up to Omagh.
The appeal continues.