OMAGH BOMB BARBARITY Mutable Forensic Evidence Essay

On 15th August 1998, a shockingly barbarous and barbarous act happened on the busy route of Omagh, Northern Ireland, when the bomb exploded ( BBC News, 2005 ) . Some civilian ‘s people and organisation known as Real Irish Republican Army was known to be involved. They organized to work like a military unit when they planted a bomb in the maroon colour auto on Saturday 15th August.

In effect of this 29 guiltless people died ( including 1 pregnant lady, adolescents, kids and tourer ) in the detonation and more than 200 people got injured. The 500 lbs fertilizer based explosives device had been packed into the maroon Vauxhall Cavalier stolen auto ( changed figure home base ) and was left by twosome of people in the Country Tyrone town. The chief motivation of Real IRA was to oppose peace procedure ( BBC News, 2005 ) .

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The deficiency of urgency, grounds aggregation, managing and action by the constabulary created tonss of inquiry and finally failed strong belief of the suspects. The job started right from the telephone warnings given by the suspects to the intelligence channel about the location of the device and when it was traveling to detonate ( BBC News, 2007 ) .

One of the individual said that auto was parked outside the Omagh ‘s courthouse and other one told that it was distance off from their due to which Police cordon off ( High street ) and procure the incorrect country after 40 proceedingss of warning call. People moves towards the bomb. It was believed that the suspects did non happen the parking infinite near by the courthouse so eventually parked the auto in lower market street, on the southern side ( route linking with Dublin ) ( BBC News 2007 ) .

Finally the bomb in the auto was detonated around 3:10 autopsy and destroyed everything in the nearby country. The power of explosive was so high that it covered about 300 paces ( BBC News, 1998 ) .

2. Police Investigation & A ; their Approachs

Many of the specializers from the London Metropolitan Police came for the probe and to assist Northern Ireland Police. As this instance involved really critical and possible grounds that can assist the constabulary a manner in front in probe. Assorted Scenes of Crime Officers ( SOCO ‘s ) and Forensic squad was involved in the aggregation of the grounds which required the ability to seek decently till the last spot ( Guardian Timeline, 2007 )

The daze moving ridges was so intense that it left 80 cm deep and 3 metres broad depressed country where many of the organic structures were found subsequently by the constabulary. During probe Police was confirmed that IRA was behind the onslaught.

In one of the imperativeness release by Police main overseer Eric Anderson told that these sorts of explosives earlier happened in Ireland and UK but this clip the mark was non army and constabularies but the guiltless people of Omagh ( Belfast Telegraph, 1998 ) .

Forensic experts were successful in discover that detonating device had been held in tiffin box and the company of the box which was used. Later on findings reveals that Coupatan timer was used to explode ( BBC News, 2005 ) . Many constabularies officers were involved in inquiring the victims and the people about the suspect and asked for public aid in their probe

The auto which suspect used was stolen from Monaghan and had been seen in south Armagh before the blast. Several months after the onslaught constabulary came to cognize the suspect and their individuality. Police able to retrieve the grounds but non that much apt which can guarantee the strong belief.

Based on the probe Ireland Police arrested 12 work forces. Colm Murphy from Corvus corax ‘s dale state Loath was charged with confederacy and subsequently convicted by Special Criminal Court on January 2002 ( Guardian Timeline, 2007 ) . On the footing of improper determination by the test justice he applied for retrial in Court of Appeal.

Subsequently on Colm Murphy nephew Sean Hoey ( electrician, Armagh ) was presented in tribunal by the prosecution on 29 counts of slaying, terrorist act and explosives charges. He was in entire convicted for 4 Mortar bomb Attack on assorted ground forces, RUC station and 5 bomb placed in auto and left on busy topographic points, 2 bomb placed on railroad line ( R v Sean Hoey,2007 ) .

The session was held in Crown tribunal of Ireland in the presence of jury and Judge WIER J. Due to the deficiency of proper reading by the forensic scientist and mishandling of the grounds by Police gave consequence to neglect strong belief against Sean Hoey ( Fennelly, Gary 2007 ) .

3. Analysis of the Component Partss

3.1. Low transcript figure Deoxyribonucleic acid: Deoxyribonucleic acid profiling has inspired the usage of molecular scientific discipline in legal system and used routinely as grounds in condemnable instances. Assorted commercial childs are designed and validated to run in the specific scope of DNA ( 0.5-2.5ng ) . These work by magnifying the Deoxyribonucleic acid molecule contained in the fishy sample a multiple times to bring forth adequate to be detected by analyser. The term refer to this is Low transcript figure DNA analysis ( Butler.M, 2005 ) .

However the job with LCN is that procedure may sometimes neglect to magnify the templet and consequences in job to analyse the profile. Assorted factors give rise to it like aggregation of grounds decently, trying, mistakes caused by machine to work decently and failure of chemical science to work efficaciously.

The trial was carried out by authorities owned Forensic Science Service which was engaged in LCN testing. Prior to this they have validated and used these proving 21000 times ( BBC News, 2007 ) . They used SGM+ instrument for LCN DNA trial. Despite that in relation to Omagh bombing instance ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) 1998 the Judge WEIR J really critically analyzed the job associated with the LCN DNA and had uncertainties about the virtues of LCN proving.

The concatenation of detention was non maintained by Police i.e. exhibits recovery from the scenes, directing for Forensic or related scrutiny ( transmittal ) and continuing the exhibit till the tribunal proceedings were over. Initially the forensic research lab failed to analyze the Deoxyribonucleic acid and return the exhibit to Police which was later send for LCN DNA proving to Birmingham research labs. The prosecution by trusting on the consequence of DNA seeking to turn out the presence of suspect to 4 incidents from 13 scenes.

The defence canvassers ( Kevin R Winters and Co ) approached to Forensic Institute Glasgow to recheck the Deoxyribonucleic acid presented by prosecution. Harmonizing to Judge WIER J defence came with possible job related to LCN DNA scrutiny that is:

Sum of Deoxyribonucleic acid required for profiling.

Cross Contamination of the Samples.

Restriction of the procedure

Conditionss under which scrutiny was carried.

Prosecution duty that no taint occur during the whole procedure.

However Dr.Griffin ( Prosecution ) points all the safeguards but defence examined and work harmonizing to the Specialist Working Group on DNA Analysis and Methods ( SWGDAM ) and Professor Jamieson attached these guidelines with his study ( Dr. Jamieson, Allen.2010 ) .Defense argued that the whole procedure get downing from entering, aggregation of grounds, packaging, labeling and keep the unity of the grounds without human mistake and cross-contamination can non be possible. Judge WIER J asked the prosecution to bring forth all these records like the individual involved dependability of the findings etc. to turn out the factual content of the grounds beyond the sensible uncertainty.

3.2. Explosive Probe: Many of the probe were carried out by Police sing sort of explosive used in Omagh instance ( BBC News, 2000 ) .According to the prosecution Forensic Scientist Mr. Dennis McAuley correlates all these Mark 19 TPUs ( which was used in the explosives ) to the accused with uncertainness and present his study in this instance ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) . He closely went through the grounds and physically examined, identified all the constituents used.

Although he point out unsimilarity in his study but the chief similarity was

1. The building of each TPUs.

2. He indicated that same sort of plastic boxes were used in the building and carrying of explosives.

3. The place of the holes made in the plastic box and the wires coming out from the topographic point where the cardinal ingredients of explosives conciliate were similar. These single parts were connected by the hole in the base of tiffin box

4. Wires were stick by hot thaw gum and of similar colour. The combination of wires and its colour were fixed at that clip.

5. The manner by which they are connected to detonating device was besides similar. The detonating device had same “ Coupatan ” fabricating taging with day of the month of the stock ordered and supplied in the twelvemonth 1997 on it ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) .

6. The LED ‘s used in the bomb and electrical resistances of 390 ohms.

7. Most of the batteries were 1.5 Vs and 9 V.

8. Other thing which Mr. McAuley made was that a soldered connexion which was used to keep all constituents was of similar nature.

TPU fragments were recovered from the Omagh bomb scene because in that instance it was destroyed by the detonation. Although some of the wire recovered by the research worker but finally it fails to depict the overall building of TPUs.

In reply to prosecution forensic scientist study defence attacked on the fact that some of the determination which was made by him was outside his expertness like the point which he raised earlier about the bonding. Mr. McAuley was non electrical applied scientist.

Overall the justice WIER J was non to the full satisfied with the account and the comparing of the grounds which he had given. Rather than this Judge did non denied Mr. McAuley findings and told that may be the explosive was constructed by the same individual but did non peculiarly linked accused to the instance ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) . In add-on to this he told that prosecution and forensic scientist failed to turn out that when and by whom this same company detonating device was sold in 1997.

Again it was illustration of bad reading and hapless repot presentation. On some of the point he wholly went out of his country and can non explicate the ground like chance of the individual that were or similar in bonding and whether seting holes made any difference.

3.3. Fiber Evidence and its comparative findings: A assorted fibres had been examined by the Dr.Logan and Dr.Griffin ( Crown ‘s scientist ) . They tried to set up the fact that all bombing incidents were linked to each other and the device which was recovered from the offense scene could be linked to Sean Hoey ( cardinal forensics services limited, 2008 ) . The cardinal focal point of the instance was around the recovery of really little figure of black acrylic fibres on a device ( TPU ‘s ) from the scene. The prosecution scientist attempts to correlate these fibres to the points found in Sean Hoey ‘s topographic point like nomadic phone etc. Recovery of the fibres was made from the insulating tape that was covered on the device. These were normally transferred during the building and collection of the device.

The different nature of fibres was matched to each other in 9 of the instances including Omagh bombardment instance and other varies significantly. But Judge WIER J pointed out was that these did n’t intend that the same type of baseball mitts was used in doing of TPU ‘s devices which was right ( R V Sean Hoey, 2007 ) . Different nature of the fibres showed that different woollen baseball mitts were worn.

In this determination what goes incorrect was the deficiency of reading. It did n’t turn out that the fibres which was found on the offense scene was alone in characteristics, it can be found anyplace in the locality. As it was clearly reported by justice WIER J that these fibres happening can non confidently linked the suspect to the offense scene. Besides there was no grounds that if anyone other than accused was populating over there and accessing the things, might be those fibres came from at that place.

3.4. Disorganized Strive and mishandling: The other job which stated by Judge WIER J was that the methodical agreement of entering and storage of the grounds were wholly nonsynchronous. Like the grounds was non decently labeled, incorrect tagging of the exhibit label and packaging job. Apart from that Police did non do the proper log of the grounds that is roll uping and storage clip ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) .Lack of timely allotment of look intoing officers were besides pointed by the justice WIER J.

In relation to this job constabulary informant and Detective Chief Superintendent besides states the same thing that they ne’er checked the returned exhibits form the FNSI and failed to keep the log. In instance of loss it ‘s difficult to follow the grounds as what happened to TPUs and other exhibits.It was a clear indicant of the misdirection in respect to exhibit handling.

It ‘s the responsibility of the Police and Forensic research lab to keep the concatenation of detention and handling of grounds. In the imperativeness release study of Forensic Institute and harmonizing to justice WIER J Dr.Griffin ( FSS ) does non maintain the proper log of points which was present in the research lab as saloon cryptography system was present but non to the full functional in whole research lab. Label was stick to the exhibit by old and dried cello tape which could ensue to the environmental harm of the Deoxyribonucleic acid. ( Forensic Science institute, 2008 ) .

These allegations was accepted by Dr.Griffin and told that these factors can take to mistakes and produce incorrect consequences. But they have taken all the precautional steps while proving. Further it was possibility from the study of Dr.Griffin that non merely Dr.Griffin trades with the grounds but besides the other research lab scientist and the individuals whose individuality was non known ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) which can take to traverse taint as all these trial require preciseness.

Another point that arose from the study of Dr.Griffin was that while covering with the grounds the scientist was non have oning the baseball mitts, masks. These all points prove that mishandling of the exhibit took topographic point.

A 3.5. Valuable calls records and its analysis:

Subsequently after the bomb it was established that 2 warning calls was made from South Armagh which is near to the boundary line. In the probe constabulary focused on nomadic phone traffic between 2p.m and 2:30pm in the Omagh and its nearby country. In the inside informations of endorsers it was found that suspect used the Vodafone service. Immediately constabularies ordered to look into their system on cell sites in Northern Ireland during the period of 12-15 August 1998 ( Trewmte, 2007 ) .

The analysis of the information was provided by Lisa Purnell on the behalf of constabulary. It states that warning calls were made from a public call box by utilizing the codification “ Martha Pope ” at hamlets at 2:29 autopsy to Ulster Television and the other 1 at 2:31pm. This was one of the digital forensic grounds carried out in the class of probe in Omagh bombing instance. Each clip fishy gave the different information sing the bomb location and clip.

Mr. Raymond Green ( probe director Vodafone ) provides all the possible inside informations beyond the sensible uncertainty. In 1998 the information was non stored on the phonograph record or tape so it was non available but now processs have evolved to maintain the information safe and retained so that it can be checked any clip as original beginning stuff ( Data Protection Act 1998 ) ( Keenan and Smith, 2007 ) .

If we assert on this point it was clear that the warning calls was made but can non peculiarly nexus to the suspect. In the absence of electronic records beginnings of mistake and skips extremely increased. There were no processs in relation to the care of these records in 1998 and because of this the dependability of the digital forensic grounds decreased ( Digital Forensics 2011 ) .But in the Omagh bombardment instance this grounds is wholly neglected and did n’t got that much importance.

4. Discussion on Omagh Bombing

Factually during scientific probe:

4.1 Crime Scene Safety: Prior to the offense scene search the safety steps should be decently taken by the forces who are involved in the scene hunt. It ‘s their and organisation duty to place the type of jeopardies and so travel frontward. Possessing the offense scene with all safety steps can take to successful offense scene hunt ( Waggoner, K 2007 ) In this instance the investigation squad should be cognizant of Blood borne pathogen safety, chemical safety.

Procure the country by cordoning off the topographic point and keep the proper log of the individuals, officers involved during the probe of offense scene. It ‘s the responsibility of first go toing officer to keep and procure the offense scene until the Scene of offense officers and forensic squad reached by cordon off the topographic point ( Jackson and Jackson 2008 ) . Upon their reaching they should brief about the state of affairs or anything done to the scene like remotion of the organic structure etc.

4.2 Crime scene hunt: A well planned and coordinated offense scene should be carried out by the jurisprudence enforcement functionaries who are good trained and cognizant of everything. The SOCO ‘s should be cautious about the physical grounds loss and the most of import is transverse taint. For this Crime scene co-coordinator and SOCO ‘s ( National institute of Justice, 2009 ) :

a ) Organize the grounds handling and processing squad: Search squad includes Photographer, safety, medical, study, aggregators and forensic experts. Evidence keeper should besides be included in the squad. The Scene coordinator on a regular basis examines the scene by set uping the common attack way and organizes the squad. Excess attempt should be taken to continue the grounds ( Saferstein, R. 2007 )

B ) Control scene taint: It ‘s the responsibility of the forces involved in the scene hunt to avoid the cross taint. It can be done by utilizing clean protective outer screen and equipment used, obtain control sample wherever needed. Evidence recovery and processing should be in such a mode that avoids debasement or taint of the grounds.

Evidence from the different scenes should be separated and marked decently.

degree Celsius ) Recover, collect, preserve, bundle and transport the grounds decently: The most critical measure is to keep the unity of the grounds till the tribunal trails ends for the peculiar instance. This can merely be done by fixing an grounds recovery log, photographed it ( before and after packaging ) and proper labeling and packaging.

After all these concatenation of detention should be maintained. Documents and offense scene study must be completed by supplying all the necessary inside informations and its comparative findings ( David and Houck. 2010 ) . SOCO ‘s officer includes major event and clip lines of the activity. Photos, picture, studies logs have been attached with the study.

Make certain scene scrutiny is complete. Investigating members should discourse the valuable issues about the incident and cross cheque all the grounds recovered. They should travel through the station -examination issue and papers station scene issues.

Finally they should let go of the scene by documenting the clip and day of the month of release and safety issues and describe the release in the log.

4.3 Remarks: As discussed antecedently Justice WIER J really critically analyzed the full job related to this instance. He was really accurate and precised in judging forensic grounds which was presented by the prosecution. There were many loop holes in the instance like the attack taken by the constabulary towards probe and covering with forensic grounds. Two of the constabulary officers had non presented the concise study in forepart of the tribunal. The abortions of the grounds by the investigation officers and other forces made it impossible for the justice to believe in them which was right from the point of Judge WIER J ( Telegraph, 2006 ) .

In 56 twenty-four hours test against Sean Hoey defence on a regular basis argued on the grounds presented by the prosecution. It was clear that some meddling and incorrect tagging was done with the grounds ( BBC News, 2001 ) . One must take excess attempt to maintain the grounds secure by proper packaging, storage, keeping proper log and concatenation of detention till the tribunal proceedings got over.

These all deficiency of attending, consideration of the of import point and thoroughness lead to the fail strong belief of the Sean Hoey. After this acquittal betterment stairss was carried out by the Forensic Science Services in relation to Low transcript figure technique. In one of the imperativeness release repot on behalf of Forensic Institute, Glasgow they point out countries of betterment that can be made by forensic services ( Forensic Institute, 2008 ) :

a ) Before showing the study on the newer technique 2nd sentiment from other good reputed organisation should be made.

B ) Proper information reading and proof of the techniques should be good reported by the forensic expert in their study.

In other study presented by Northern Ireland personal businesss commission ( Sir Patrick Cormack. 2010 ) they asked for new probe into the Omagh bomb instance.

The importance of physical grounds can non be ignored. The proper handling of the grounds reflects its status and unity. Right from its recovery boulder clay tribunal trail it should be maintained.

Evidence managing process should be tightened so that no abortions can take topographic point. Excess labels should be placed on the grounds bag on which the Scene of offense officer can non merely compose the category features or description of the grounds but besides could advert the bomber category characteristics during packaging ( Virginia Forensic scientific discipline research lab, 2010 ) . There can be chance of more than one stuff in the bag so for proper handling and attention characteristics should besides be marked.

Another safeguard should be taken while reassigning the grounds from scene to research lab. The individual who is transporting the grounds to Forensic research lab should have the reception with cast of the grounds, status in which it is taken. Laboratory individual who is roll uping the grounds should exhaustively look into any sort of meddling.

It ‘s hard to pull the peculiar set of regulations for each sort of physical grounds but proper scientific cognition can make that ( Waggoner, K. 2007 ) . Each semester term proper preparation and newer techniques should be given to the Police and look intoing officer. This can better the quality of grounds handling and finally good forensic result. Extra adult male power should be incorporated in the forensic research lab so that proper process can be followed.


It ‘s really hard by the jurisprudence enforcement bureaus and Police officers to manage such a big graduated table incident. The size of offense scene, cross-contamination issues like offense scene country covered by such big sum of dust, big figure of casualties consequences in fail strong belief though the major probe stairss seemed to be all right.

Justice WIER J critically analyzed all the job related to the instance and kept the judgement balanced ( R v Sean Hoey, 2007 ) .

He pointed out the job of grounds handling and incorrect attack by the Police of Northern Ireland while covering with grounds of such an of import instance. Scientific grounds assemblage requires the accomplishment which Scene of offense officers failed to demo. Besides the forensic scientist did non follow the peculiar protocol while scrutiny and the techniques were non to the full validated and accurate at that clip.

A delayed probe in the starting created a figure of jobs. Making a proper scene reappraisal can assist the senior probe officer to be after strategically and cover with the question. It can move as a supportive mechanism for SIO ‘s ( nipolicingboard, 2007 ) .

The scrutiny of the grounds specially the low transcript figure DNA proving did non follow the Specialist Working Group on DNA Analysis and Methods ( SWGDAM ) . It suggests that techniques should be peer reviewed and dependability of it should be increased.

Regular developing plan should be organized by the governments for forensic grounds assemblage and handling.


6. A.Table of instances and statues:

R 5 Sean Hoey 2007.

Data Protection Act – 1998.

6. B.References:

BBC News. ( 1998 ) . Omagh bombing putting to deaths 28, 16 August, 11:26 AM. Retrived March 13, 2011, from BBC: hypertext transfer protocol: //

BBC News. ( 2000 ) . Omagh Investigation under reappraisal, 21 April,12 autopsy GMT. Retrieved March 15, 2011, from BBC: hypertext transfer protocol: //

BBC News. ( 2001 ) . Police critcal of Omagh bill of exchange study, 6 December, 21:14 autopsy. Retrieved March 16, 2011, from BBC: hypertext transfer protocol: //

BBC News ( 2005 ) In Depth: Omagh Bombing, 21, January. Retrieved March 20, 2011, from BBC: hypertext transfer protocol: //

BBC News. ( 2007 ) . Verdict raises DNA grounds uncertainty, 20 December, 17:00 PM. Retrieved March 13, 2011, from BBC: hypertext transfer protocol: //

BBC News ( 2007 ) . How the Omagh instance unravelled, 20 December, 20:56 PM. Retrieved March 17, 2011, from BBC: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Belfast Telegraph. ( 1998 ) . Northern Ireland Police Press Release Report, Omagh Bombing, 15 August, 22:45pm GMT.

Butler, JM. ( 2005 ) . Forensic Deoxyribonucleic acid typing. Burlington USA: Elsevier Academic Press.

David, Niamh Nic and Houck, Max. ( 2010 ) . Interpol ‘s forensic scientific discipline reappraisal. London: CRC Press

Digital Forensics. ( 2011 ) . Retrieved March 7th, 2011, from Forensic Focus:

Dingley, J.-S. ( 1998 ) . The bombardment of Omagh. Journel of Conflict Studies, 105-126.

Dr.Allan Jamieson ( Director ) , Forensic Institute. ( 2010 ) . Low transcript figure and Forensic Institute. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from Forensic Institute: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Fennelly, Gary ( 2007 ) . Sean Hoey cleared of Omagh bombardment charges. Belfast Telegraph, 20 December.

Forensic Science Institute. ( 2008 ) . PRESS RELEASE ON BEHALF OF THE FORENSIC INSTITUTE, GLASGOW, 15 April. Retrieved March 10, 2011, from Denverda oraganization: hypertext transfer protocol: // % 20Institute, % 20Glasgow % 20Press % 20release.pdf

Guardian, Timeline. ( 2007 ) . Timeline. the Omagh bombardment, 10 December.

Jackson, Andrew, RW and Jackson, Julie. ( 2008 ) . Forensic Science. Harlow: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008.

Keenan, D. J and Smith ( 2007 ) . Smith and Keenan ‘s English jurisprudence. Haarlow: Pearson Longman.

Key forensic services limited. ( 2008 ) . Case notes. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from Key forensic services limited: hypertext transfer protocol: //

National Institute of Justice. ( 2009, June 1 ) . Probe of bomb and explosive scene. Retrieved March 12, 2011, from National Institute of Justice: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Northern Ireland patroling board ( 2007. ) Omagh bomb investigation-Independent reappraisal, 5 July Retrieved March 13, 2011, from Northern Ireland Police Board: hypertext transfer protocol: //

R 5 Sean Hoey, NICC 49 ( Crown Court 12 20, 2007 ) .

Sir Patrick Cormack ( Chairman ) Northern Ireland Affairs Committee ( 2010 ) Report on Omagh bombing lineations, 16, March Retrieved March 13, 2011, from UK Parliament: hypertext transfer protocol: //

Saferstein, R. ( 2007 ) . Criminalistics – Introduction to Forensic Science. New Jersy: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Telegraph ( 2006, October ) . Omagh Retrieved March 13, 2011, from Telegraph on-line intelligence: hypertext transfer protocol: //… /nomagh120.xml

Trewmte ( 2007 ) Forensic Focus. Call records, Cell analysis and digital forensics. Retrived March 15, 2011 from Forensic Focus: www.forensic

Virginia Forensic Science research lab ( 2010 ) . Evidence Handling and lab capablenesss guide. Virgina.

Waggoner, K. ( 2007 ) . Handbook of Forensic Services. Quantico, Virginia: An FBI Laboratory Publication.