Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Hamill murder report legal checks

Robert Hamill, who was killed in Portadown in April 1997

The Government has confirmed it has completed a legal check of a report into the sectarian murder of Catholic man Robert Hamill.

Secretary of State Owen Paterson said there was nothing in the findings of the public inquiry into the case that posed a risk to individuals and so the report could eventually be published in full.

But he repeated his plan to delay its release until the conclusion of the prosecutions against three people, including a former police officer, in connection with the case.

The report will now remain under the care of the inquiry team, and will be held in a secure location, until it can be published.

Mr Hamill, 25, was beaten to death by a loyalist mob in the predominantly Protestant town of Portadown, Co Armagh, in 1997 as he walked home after a night out with friends.

Controversy has focused on allegations that armed police at the scene failed to intervene to prevent the attack and that the Royal Ulster Constabulary subsequently mishandled the investigation.

No one has been convicted of the murder of the father of three.

In January, the Public Prosecution Service confirmed the test for prosecution had been reached in relation to two people accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and one for intent to pervert the course of justice.

In a statement released at Westminster, Mr Paterson said: "I can confirm that this checking process has now been completed and I have received advice from the checking team which confirms that there is nothing in the report which, if published, could breach Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights by putting the lives or safety of individuals at risk, or put national security at risk.

"I am therefore satisfied that once legal proceedings have concluded, the report can be published in full."

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