Hamill anonymity ‘a cover-up bid’

Former RUC officers due to give evidence at the Robert Hamill murder inquiry have succeeded in overturning a ruling that they are not entitled to remain anonymous.

A judge in Belfast’s High Court upheld an application for judicial review brought by a former officer, known only as L, on behalf of about 20 retired RUC men.

The ruling means that individual ex-RUC men will now be able to make their own claim for anonymity.

Robert Hamill, a 25-year-old Catholic, was beaten and kicked to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, County Armagh, in 1997.

Four RUC members in a land rover saw what was happening and failed to intervene.

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd said that the ruling was the latest stage in the effort to cover-up the facts around the killing.

“It is beyond dispute that Robert Hamill was brutally murdered in a random sectarian attack as members of the RUC sat back and watched,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“At the time of the murder strenuous efforts were made by the RUC to cover-up the circumstances surrounding the killing. It is for this reason that an independent inquiry was needed.

“With today’s court ruling it appears that the efforts at cover-up and concealment are continuing. Nationalists and Republicans in Portadown will not accept another RUC white wash. The British State and its agents need to come clean about this and other murders they have been involved in.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News