Three to face charges over Robert Hamill murder
Published 21/12/2010 | 13:06
Three people are to be charged in connection with the sectarian murder of Portadown Catholic Robert Hamill, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in the North has said.
Mr Hamill was beaten to death by a loyalist mob in the Co Armagh town in 1997 and claims that police failed to intervene are the subject of a public inquiry.
The PPS confirmed three people are to be charged in connection with the case.
The move follows a request from the inquiry team for prosecutors to reconsider a decision not to prosecute an individual.
In a statement the PPS said: "The PPS has confirmed that, following a review of all the available evidence including that given to the Hamill Tribunal, it has concluded that the Test for Prosecution is met in respect of two persons for an offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and one person for an offence of doing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice."
The father-of-three suffered serious head injuries when he was kicked and beaten at a notorious sectarian flashpoint in Portadown while he walked home after a night out with relatives.
He was rushed to hospital but died 11 days later without regaining consciousness.
The presence of armed police in a Land Rover at the scene of the attack sparked claims they had failed to intervene, while the then Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) also faced accusations that it had later mishandled the case.
The police officers involved deny wrong-doing.
No-one has been convicted of murdering Mr Hamill and only one person was convicted of affray as a result of the fatal assault.
The case became one of the most notorious of the latter years of the Troubles and fuelled nationalist calls for radical reforms of the RUC.
The Hamill family had been represented by solicitor Rosemary Nelson, who was murdered in 1999 when a bomb was placed under her car.
A separate public inquiry is examining allegations of security force collusion in her killing.
It was recently announced that the publication of both inquiry reports has been delayed until next year.
In a statement the Hamill Inquiry said: "The Robert Hamill Inquiry has been notified by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland today that the PPS has reviewed a decision to discontinue proceedings against certain persons arising from the circumstances of the death of Robert Hamill.
"The review was carried out as a result of the Inquiry Panel's interim report, which was published on 12 March 2010.
"Having completed this review, the PPS has concluded that the test for prosecution is met in respect of two persons for an offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice and one person for doing an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice."