Belfast Recorder Tom Burgess has ruled that extradition proceedings against Liam Campbell, one of the men held to be responsible for the Omagh bombing in a recent civil judgement, will take place in Northern Ireland. Campbell had been remanded in custody in May while Lithuania decided which jurisdiction they preferred to proceed in; here in the UK, or in the Republic of Ireland where he had been remanded on bail with two others since his arrest in January – on a European Arrest Warrant issued in connection with an MI5 sting operation which saw Campbells brother arrested in Lithuania in January 2008. From the BBC report.
Belfast Recorder Tom Burgess said a warrant for Campbell’s arrest was sent to Northern Ireland and to the Republic of Ireland at or about the same in January. He said Campbell had chosen of his own free will to come into Northern Ireland in May. “I find no reason to impart to the PSNI any bad faith or abuse of their powers,” he said. “They were arresting someone under an instrument duly issued by a judicial authority. That judicial authority has advised that it wishes the matter to proceed in this jurisdiction.”
Adds Some additional detail from an earlier report in May
The authorities in Lithuania are seeking Campbell in connection with a foiled plot to bring arms and explosives into Ireland two years ago.
It is alleged he and three other men, one of whom is his brother Michael, conspired in 2006 and 2007 to obtain the weapons cache for the Real IRA.
Campbell, who appeared in the dock wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans and spoke only to confirm his name, is one of five men being sued in a civil action by families of the victims of the Omagh bomb for their alleged part in the 1998 atrocity.
He was initially arrested in Bessbrook on Friday under UK terror legislation and held in the specialist police interrogation suite in Antrim. He was released without charge on Tuesday but immediately rearrested under the terms of the European warrant issued by the Lithuanian state last year.
And an additional point from the Belfast Telegraph report
Extradition proceedings in Dublin were at an advanced stage and he was freed on bail, but barred from leaving the jurisdiction, when he was arrested across the border in Co Armagh.
Mr Campbell’s lawyers wanted him returned south to complete the process but, the Lithuanian authorities say they would prefer he was extradited from Northern Ireland.
A judge today acceded to their request and added that, as Campbell had broken bail conditions, he would oppose bail on grounds he would leave Northern Ireland.