Queen v Sean Hoey

JurisdictionNorthern Ireland
JudgeWeir J,Weatherup J
Judgment Date20 December 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] NICC 49
Date20 December 2007
CourtCrown Court (Northern Ireland)
Year2006
Neutral Citation No. [2007] NICC 49 Ref:
WEI7021
Judgment: approved by the Court for handing down Delivered:
20.12.07
(subject to editorial corrections)*
IN THE CROWN COURT SITTING IN NORTHERN IRELAND
_______
Bill No: 341/05
_______
THE QUEEN
-v-
SEAN HOEY
_______
WEIR J
Introduction
[1] In this Bill the accused is charged with 58 counts related to the alleged
offences of murder, conspiracy to murder, causing explosions, conspiracy to
cause explosions and possession of explosive substances with intent to
endanger life or cause serious damage to property. They arise from thirteen
bomb and mortar attacks, attempts at such attacks and the finding of
unexploded devices that began on 24 March 1998 and included the infamous
car bomb explosion that destroyed much of the shopping centre of Omagh on
the afternoon of Saturday, 15 August 1998 with the appalling consequence
that twenty-nine members of the public, including a lady pregnant with twins
which did not survive, were killed and hundreds of others were injured,
many gravely, leaving permanent and widespread physical and psychological
scars. The town centre was destroyed. This huge explosion was among the
very worst of the numerous terrible events of that recent thirty–year violent
period of Northern Ireland history sometimes euphemistically referred to as
“the Troubles”. The prosecution contended, and there seems little doubt, that
those responsible for all these incidents were so-called republicans who did
not accept the implications of the Good Friday Agreement for the
continuation of their terrorist campaign. I shall briefly describe each of the
thirteen incidents and the charges relating to them against the accused.
2
1. Mortar Attack on G30 Army Tower at Crossmaglen on 24 March 1998
[2] An explosion was heard in the area adjacent to the tower and in the
subsequent search twin mortar tubes mounted upon a base plate were
discovered. It was found that both mortars had successfully fired but fallen
short of the Tower which was their presumed target. The timer power unit
(“TPU”) was found to be comprised of a “Coupatan” brand two-hour timer
and two toggle isolating switches mounted on a plastic lunch box with the
power provided by batteries housed within the box and with wires leading
from holes in the box for connection to the detonator. The particular
characteristics of this type of TPU distinguished it from its predecessors and
successors so that it became known as a “Mark 19”. TPUs of this type are
shown to have been used in eleven of the thirteen incidents.
[3] Subsequent enquiries revealed that an order had been placed in England
in January 1997 for 480 “Coupatan” timers which were manufactured in
France and supplied with their week of manufacture – 99710 - signifying the
tenth week of 1997, stamped upon them. Unsurprisingly the details of the
person who ordered the timers proved to be fictitious. Timers from the same
batch were also recovered in devices found in London and the Republic of
Ireland during the period 3 March to 10 July 1998.
[4] The accused is charged in Count 44 with Conspiracy to Murder a
member or members of the security forces, in Count 45 with Causing an
Explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property and in
Count 46 with Possession of an Explosive Substance with intent to endanger
life or cause serious injury to property.
2. Mortar Attack on Forkhill Army/RUC Base on 24 March 1998
[5] On the same day as Incident 1 this second mortar attack was launched.
One mortar exploded within the compound but fortunately did not strike any
person or building. The follow up search revealed two mortar base plates
each with two tubes. Each pair had its own TPU, one of which was a Mark 19
and the other of different construction.
[6] The accused is charged in Count 47 with conspiracy to Murder, in
Count 48 with Causing an Explosion and in Count 49 with Possession of an
Explosive Substance with intent.
3. Hoax Device on Railway Line at Red Bridge, Newry on 3 April 1998
[7] A railway worker observed a suspicious item on the Belfast to Dublin
railway line. When examined the item was found to be a hoax device
consisting of a paint bucket filled with car fillers and a Mark 19 TPU.

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8 cases
  • R v Reed; R v Garmson
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • December 21, 2009
    ...experience in conducting independent reviews. 6 Before this review had been completed, a challenge was made in the Northern Irish case of R v Sean Hoey [2007] NICC 49 to the reliability of DNA evidence using the FSS's LCN process. The defendant was charged with offences of murder, conspirac......
  • Michael Scott Wallace v R Ca
    • New Zealand
    • Court of Appeal
    • March 3, 2010
    ...is simply a formalisation of generally applicable logic, and properly handled, should not pose undue problems for courts. 22 R v Hoey [2007] NICC 49. See also Sean O'Neill “Defence lawyers ready to seize on DNA doubts” The Times (United Kingdom, 24 January 23 R v Reed & Garmson (2009) EWCA......
  • Eugene St Romaine v The King
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    • High Court (Saint Lucia)
    • December 29, 2023
    ...suspended in the UK. The suspension came following criticism of the testing procedures by the Crown Court of Northern Ireland in R v Hoey [2007] NICC 49 (the so-called “Omagh bombing trial”). Hoey was charged with several offences arising from thirteen incidents, including the Omagh car bom......
  • Eugene St Romaine v The King
    • Caribbean Community
    • Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court
    • December 29, 2023
    ...suspended in the UK. The suspension came following criticism of the testing procedures by the Crown Court of Northern Ireland in R v Hoey [2007] NICC 49 (the so-called “Omagh bombing trial”). Hoey was charged with several offences arising from thirteen incidents, including the Omagh car bom......
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11 books & journal articles
  • Authenticating ‘Things’ in English Law: Principles for Adducing Tangible Evidence in Common Law Jury Trials
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The No. 12-4, November 2008
    • November 1, 2008
    ...at [30].35 RvStubbs [2002] EWCA Crim 2254 at [16]; RvEarly [2002] EWCA Crim 1904 at [21]; RvEmu [2004]EWCA Crim 2296 at [26].36 RvHoey [2007] NICC 49 at [46].37 RvRobson [1972] 1 WLR 651 at 653, 2. Role of judge and jury in the authentication processDeciding what constitutes authentication ......
  • Subject Index
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The No. 12-4, November 2008
    • November 1, 2008
    .... . . . . . . . . . . . 243, 244R v Highton [2005] EWCA Crim 1985,[2005]1 WLR 3472. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124R vHoey [2007] NICC49 . . . . . . . . . . 169, 277,290R vHorne [1992] CrimLR 304 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295 R vHughes [1986] 2NZLR 129 . . . . . . . . . . . . ......
  • Subject Index
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The No. 15-4, October 2011
    • October 1, 2011
    .... . 340,341R v Henning DC WN CRI-2010-078-1159 (5 July2011). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318R vHoey [2007] NICC49 . . 161, 163,248, 250–251R v Horncastle [2009] UKSC 14, [2010] 2 WLR 47. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94,100–111R vJ......
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Forensic Investigations and Miscarriages of Justice. The Rhetoric Meets The Reality Part Three
    • June 15, 2010
    ...206, 333 R. v. Hinse, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 3, [1997] S.C.J. No. 1 ......................................................... 107 R. v. Hoey, [2007] NICC 49 ................................................................................. 280– 82 R. v. J.-L.J., [2000] 2 S.C.R. 600, 2000 SCC 51 .........
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