The ex-wife of a man once suspected of Robert Hamill's murder has agreed to give evidence at the inquiry into the killing, it has been revealed.
Tracey Clarke, who retracted a witness statement naming her former partner Allister Hanvey among the attackers, faces the threat of jail for non-attendance at the tribunal.
But judges at the High Court agreed to adjourn an application for contempt after being told Ms Clarke has now given an undertaking to testify via video-link next Tuesday.
“We have no wish to see this lady either in prison or to have the Sword of Damocles hanging over her head,” Ashley Underwood QC, counsel for the inquiry, said.
Ms Clarke, also known as Tracey Hanvey, is regarded as a key witness by those examining the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Hamill. The 25-year-old Catholic was kicked to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, Co Armagh, in 1997.
A public inquiry has been set up to establish whether the RUC facilitated his death or obstructed the investigation into it.
Ms Clarke was to attend in January but cited medical reasons for her non-appearance.
Lawyers for the inquiry are also seeking access to a psychiatric report as part of their assessment of “contradictory versions” she gave in separate accounts.
Mr Underwood told the court Ms Clarke gave a statement following the fatal attack in which she named Mr Hanvey among those seen kicking the victim.
She also alleged that a police officer contacted her ex-partner after the murder and told him to destroy the clothes he was wearing that night.
With Ms Clarke later retracting her claims, charges against Mr Hanvey were subsequently dropped.
The barrister accepted scrutiny of what Ms Clarke told a psychiatrist had to be balanced against intruding on her private life.
Tony McGleenan, for Ms Clarke, stressed how his client had been admitted as an acute case of psychiatric illness. Referring to the full contents of the report, he claimed “she should not have them disseminated to the world at large”.