Omagh bomb accused appeal dismissed by European court

October 3, 2016

An appeal by two men against a civil ruling, which found them liable for the Omagh bombing has been dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights.

Dundalk men Liam Campbell and Michael McKevitt had sought to overturn the June 2009 verdict that found them accountable for the atrocity.  The civil action had been brought by relatives of some of the victims of the 1998 atrocity, and from which they were awarded £1.6m in damages.

Campbell and McKevitt took their case to Europe, claiming the admission of evidence from an FBI agent who was not available for questioning was unfair.  However, the court found that the judge in the civil case had fully considered the need for appropriate safeguards, given the witness’ absence.  The men were also found to have been given an adequate opportunity to challenge the agent’s evidence and that the judge gave due regard to the appropriate considerations when deciding what weight he attached to the evidence of an absent witness. Regarding their claim that the judge should have applied a criminal standard of proof, the court found that this was not necessary because the proceedings had been for a civil claim for damages.  The seven judges at the European Court of Human Rights unanimously rejected the case.