Hamill report to be published in 2012

The report into the 1997 sectarian murder of Robert Hamill will be completed at the end of this month but will not be published until next year at the earliest, British officials have said.

Mr Hamill was kicked unconscious by a loyalist mob in the presence of a PSNI patrol, and died in hospital of brain damage 12 days later.

British Secretary Owen Paterson has insisted he cannot release the potentially explosive report until after the trial of three people for perverting the course of justice.

Even then the full findings might remain unpublished, he said.

Mr Paterson plans to “check the inquiry’s report to ensure that its publication will not breach article two of the European Convention on Human Rights by putting lives or the safety of individuals at risk”.

Former RUC reserve constable Robert Atkinson, his wife Eleanor and Kenneth Hanvey are to stand trial after the Crown Prosecution Service was forced into a u-turn in December.

The decision to carry out a review came after the judge leading the public inquiry into the 25-year-old’s death, took the dramatic step last March of urging prosecutors to “urgently” reconsider their decision.

However, it is unlikely that the trial will be completed until at least 2012.

Mr Paterson announced in the House of Commons this week that the inquiry panel would deliver their findings to him by the end of this month.

He said Mr Hamill family had agreed to the delay of the publication of the report.

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