Omagh bomb accused 'has an alibi'
A man accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh bombing has an alibi, his lawyer has told a court.
Seamus Daly is charged with the 1998 Real IRA car bomb attack.
His defence barrister Peter Corrigan called for full disclosure of mobile phone records by police ahead of the "biggest murder trial in British criminal history", which is expected to centre on calls made at the time.
He said: "My client has put forward an alibi in 1999 and he is saying he was not in Omagh with any mobile phones and he is anxious that all voice analysis would be compared in relation to each phone.
"We are asking for all audio in relation to mobile phones."
Victims of the Omagh bomb, including Michael Gallagher and Stanley McComb, were in Omagh Magistrates' Court for the latest remand hearing.
Daly appeared via video link from prison as the court was updated on legal issues.
The accused faces 29 counts of murder after the device exploded in the centre of the town on a busy Saturday and killed shoppers from Ireland, Britain and Spain. A woman pregnant with twins and nine children were among the dead.
The 44-year-old bricklayer from Kilnasaggart Road, Jonesborough, County Armagh, also faces counts of causing the August 1998 explosion in Omagh and possession of a bomb in the market town with intent to endanger life or property.
He is further charged with conspiring to cause an explosion and having explosives with intent in connection with a separate dissident republican bomb plot in Lisburn, County Antrim, in April that year.
The primary witness that the Crown has put forward is Denis O'Connor, Mr Corrigan has said in a previous hearing.
Today he added: "He was arrested in 1999 as a suspect for the Omagh bombing. He was cautioned, there was a reasonable suspicion that he was involved by virtue of his arrest."
He claimed Mr O'Connor gave an account to Irish police in 1999 and had given three or four other accounts.
"We would ask that all original Garda notes in relation to Denis O'Connor form part of the disclosure that is submitted by the Garda.
"It is not fair that some statements in relation to Denis O'Connor are forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). We want all material pertaining to Denis O'Connor to be served on the PPS so that a proper, fair and balanced consideration of this evidence can be made."
Mr Corrigan said he was seeking all the original data from mobile phones.
"How possibly can you put forward a case in relation to mobile phones without all original data to analyse that?
"There is no point in expert comment on data that is not original or has been edited.
"If this is a case in relation to mobile phones - and it has been well-documented in the media and press that, on the day of Omagh, mobile phones were being monitored (by the security services) - we would ask for the originals of the monitoring of all mobile phones at Omagh to be disclosed so that a proper, fair and balanced consideration of the mobile phone evidence can be given."
He repeated claims that the evidence was "stale", saying it has been in existence since 1999 and nothing has changed.
The solicitor reiterated that Daly was living openly in the Jonesborough area, supported by statements from parish priests and Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) figures, and added it was nonsense that he could not be found.
Barrister Michael Chambers, for the PPS, told district judge Benita Boyd prosecutors had stuck to their commitments to make progress in the case.
He said material from the Garda should be with the PPS within the next three weeks.
A preliminary report from a mobile phone expert for police was ready a fortnight ago but it omitted information and the document was referred back to its author, Mr Chambers said. A revised version will be available by the end of next week.
A "significant" amount of material has already been submitted for preparation for the case.
Mr Chambers added: "We have held to all of the undertakings and assessments I gave the court in my last application."
He said: "It is vehemently disputed that there was ever an indication of July as a preliminary inquiry date (when the evidence will be produced)."
Mr Corrigan invited the judge to call a former solicitor on the case to give evidence about the preliminary enquiry.
Daly was remanded in custody until March 31.