Justice’s small face saver

Michael Gallagher for the families has just said:

We have sent a message to terrorists that the families will come after you. And to government/s that if you won’t. we will”

While there is no substitute for criminal convictions and long sentences, the result of the civil action was a small triumph for justice, We hope the four found responsible will stay in gaol for a very long time, one way or another. We hope too that the families now find some rest after long years of campaigning. The judge Sir Declan Morgan is about to become Lord Chief Justice.

  • jade

    next to be sued? how about gerry adams, martin mguinness, gerry kelly etc, etc for their roles? – any takers?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Don’t lose the run of yourselves. Just because a Quisling British ‘judge’ says it is so doesn’t necessarily make it so. Any Tadhg will do?

  • Jon

    Civil cases have a much lower burden of proof, with the judge reaching his verdict on the balance of probabilities. In criminal law, guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

    That says it all!

  • Turgon

    Brain,
    Wait you are calling this a “small triumph for justice.” I thought you felt that you thought that lots of us were responsible for the troubles after all when I suggested that the perpetrators of terrorism were the ones responsible you said this about me:

    “Although he himself no doubt lives an ordinary moral private and professional life, he absolves him from any share any collective moral responsibility on the part of those who were unable to see what was needed to achieve a better society. After all these years, this refusal to accept wider responsibility for the communal breakdown leaves him open to moral censure”

    Now Brain you cannot have it both ways: either the murderers are the guilty ones and this was “a small triumph for justice” or we were all responsible in which case the dead were partly responsible. Please enlighten us.

  • oldruss

    Jon (comment #3 above) has got this in proper perspective. This was a civil law suit, and no determination of guilt or innocence was made. That said, it is more probably that the defendants were responsible for the wrongful deaths and injuries at the Omagh bombing than not, according to the court.

    So now what?

    Noone will be sentenced, as this was NOT a criminal case. Perhaps the court will award the plaintiffs some monetary damages, and the plaintiffs will attempt to collect. My guess is that these defendants have little in the way of assets which can be attached or levied upon, and so the plaintiffs will be left with a verdict in their favor and little else.

    What should be focused upon now is why there was but one criminal prosecution, which ended in the appeals court throwing out the verdict. Are the authorities so incompetent, that even in a situation as aggregious as this, they cannot bring anyone to justice?

  • Framer

    Where was the NI Human Rights Commission when it came to trying to protect the rights of these murdered by non-state parties?

  • ciaran

    Cannot understand the point of these court cases.If the burden of proof is not good enough for a criminal conviction then how can anyone justify a lesser standard for civil cases? Its like saying your almost guilty, but not quite.

  • barnshee

    It about accountability— the state could not impose it –the people did. These people and their supporters are now named, identified, photographed, pariahs.

    Money was never the issue.

    Now lets see another action in the north based on an unsolved event (say Tebane or Kingsmill)
    People with holiday homes in Donegal sleeping a little uneasily tonight?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    That’s not a bad point. I wonder if there are any limitations on taking civil action (the fact that Omagh was a decade ago seems to indicate not, but legal eagles are welcome to correct me).

    If not, there’s no real impediment to victims suing the pants off various paramilitaries. And it’s may be more satisfying than hearing some terrorist’s story, a la Eames-Bradley’s proposals.

    Who knows, this ground-breaking case could have paved the way for an alternative Truth Commission!

  • PACE Parent

    Brian,
    A civil case doggedly pursued by the Omagh families seeking justice has done more to restore my confidence in the distinction and differentiation between victim and perpetrator.

    When victims and perpetrators of terrorist violence are lumped together such as in Eames-Bradley and supported by commentators like you it leaves a nasty coating and smell that cannot be washed off. This reminds me of my own experiences looking after the medical needs of victims of trauma particularly bombings. The smell of burnt flesh gets up your nose and stays there for days no matter what attempts are made to remove it. It is literally sickening but nothing close to the plight of victims.

    Eames-Bradley has had a similar effect and I’m sure that many would share my view that the expense of setting up and administration of this travesty would have been better spent on real victims such as the Omagh families.

  • Gabriel

    Allegedly the security services were protecting several touts within the RIRA in this civil case and so no charges were never going to be brought unless the civil route was chosen like it was.It is still alleged that the security services knew about the omagh bomb and let it happen for their own motives.Also alleged MI5 knew about the massarene attack beforehand but they let it go ahead as they wanted a certain person so badly.I know a lot more but had to choose my words very carefully for obvious reasons.

  • lusitania

    Lets get it all in perspective.

    1.The victims have already been fully compensated by the NIO for injuries, death etc.
    2.Any money obtained from the defendants must be paid back to the NIO, with the exception of aggaravated damages of £30k per claim
    3.The plaintiff’s lawyers obtained huge amountof donation s in region of £2m plus.They also got £800 k from legal aid, plus ongoing fees during hearing.All gone apparently
    4.the defendants were legaklly aided.
    5.None of the defendants turned up.for obvious reasons
    6.None of the defendants have any money
    7.If local lawyers had been instructed for claim would have got legal aid and progressed case at a fraction of the cost
    8. An appeal is contemplated to obtain more damages and ,youve guessed it,at taxpayers expense with no realistic prospect of getting a red cent from these people.
    Quiz..and the winners are? a. victims b. public purse.c lawyers?

    answers on a postcard please…prize is a chance to donate to the lawyers appeal fees.

  • lusitania

    Lets get it all in perspective.

    1.The victims have already been fully compensated by the NIO for injuries, death etc.
    2.Any money obtained from the defendants must be paid back to the NIO, with the exception of aggaravated damages of £30k per claim
    3.The plaintiff’s lawyers obtained huge amountof donation s in region of £2m plus.They also got £800 k from legal aid, plus ongoing fees during hearing.All gone apparently
    4.the defendants were legaklly aided.
    5.None of the defendants turned up.for obvious reasons
    6.None of the defendants have any money
    7.Why was it nessary to engage expensive english lawyers in a penalty kick case?
    8. An appeal is contemplated to obtain more damages and ,youve guessed it,at taxpayers expense with no realistic prospect of getting a red cent from these people.
    Quiz..and the winners are? a. victims b. public purse.c lawyers?

    answers on a postcard please…prize is a chance to donate to the lawyers appeal fees.

  • lusitania

    Lets get it all in perspective.

    1.The victims have already been fully compensated by the NIO for injuries, death etc.
    2.Any money obtained from the defendants must be paid back to the NIO, with the exception of aggaravated damages of £30k per claim
    3.The plaintiff’s lawyers obtained huge amountof donation s in region of £2m plus.They also got £800 k from legal aid, plus ongoing fees during hearing.All gone apparently
    4.the defendants were legaklly aided.
    5.None of the defendants turned up.for obvious reasons
    6.None of the defendants have any money
    7.Why was it nessary to engage expensive english lawyers in a penalty kick case?
    8. An appeal is contemplated to obtain more damages and ,youve guessed it,at taxpayers expense with no realistic prospect of getting a red cent from these people.
    Quiz..and the winners are? a. victims b. public purse.c lawyers?

    answers on a postcard please…prize is a chance to donate to the lawyers appeal fees.

  • ciaran

    Barnshee” its about accountability”, that may well be the case but if the proof is not good enough to secure a conviction then how can it be good enough to brand someone guilty of a crime.At best it can only be regarded as a token gesture to relatives. Wether or not these men are guilty, they have been branded as such with evidence that was deemed useless in a criminal court.

  • barnshee

    answers on a postcard please…prize is a chance to donate to the lawyers appeal fees.

    I am more than happy to donate, these people have assets they can be seized and nobody gives a flying fuck if the lawyers fill their boots- As long as these people suffer.

    The legal process in ROI will now be tested as the judgements are forwarded for enforcement.

    The DUPERS are slavering at the prospect of the enforcement action failing in the ROI legal system.