Hamill prosecutions to go ahead
Hamill prosecutions to go ahead

Three people are to be charged in connection with the sectarian murder of Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill, Crown prosecutors in the North have said.

Mr Hamill was beaten to death by a loyalist mob in the County Armagh town in 1997, under the observation of a PSNI police unit. It later was claimed that a member of the PSNI helped to conceal evidence from the killing.

Three people are finally to be charged in connection with the murder -- two for conspiring to pervert the course of justice and one for an act with the intention of perverting the course of justice.

The move follows a request from the inquiry team for the North’s prosecution service to reconsider their initial decision not to prosecute.

The father-of-three was kicked unconscious by a large gang of (up to thirty) loyalists in Portadown, County Armagh. It was a random sectarian attack and it happened in full view of an RUC/PSNI Land Rover two hundred yards from a police station.

Four RUC officers sat in the Land Rover while the attack took place. They were wearing body armour, were armed with pistols, plastic bullets, CS gas and a semi-automatic rifle.

Mr Hamill fell into a coma and died twelve days later in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

The four RUC members present did not intervene during the attack. Indeed, after the attack, they did not even administer first aid to the grievously wounded Robert Hamill. They did not declare a crime scene. They did not collect forensic evidence. They did not take witness statements from those present during the attack, despite the attackers themselves remaining on the scene for nearly an hour afterwards. No arrests were made for nearly two weeks, even though some of the suspects were known to the RUC.

No-one has been convicted of the murder. One person was convicted of ‘affray’ as a result of the fatal assault.

The Hamill family had been represented by human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson, who was murdered in 1999 when a bomb was placed under her car. A separate public inquiry is examining allegations of Crown force collusion in her killing.

It was recently announced that the publication of both inquiry reports has been delayed until next year.

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