Robert Hamill Inquiry
On 27 April 1997, Robert Hamill, a 25 year old Catholic civilian, was assaulted while walking home from a dancehall with a group of friends in Portadown, Northern Ireland. He and his friends were attacked by a group of loyalists and during this attack he suffered fatal injuries and never regained consciousness. He died on 8 May 1997.
The Robert Hamill Inquiry was initially established under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998. However it converted to operate under the terms of the Inquiries Act 2005.
Its terms of reference were:
“To inquire into the death of Robert Hamill with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the Royal Ulster Constabulary facilitated his death or obstructed the investigation of it, or whether attempts were made to do so; whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent; whether the investigation of his death was carried out with due diligence; and to make recommendations.”
The Inquiry Panel comprised of Sir Edwin Jowitt, (Chairman), retired Justice of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, Reverend Baroness (Kathleen) Richardson of Calow, Moderator of the Churches’ Commission for Inter Faith Relations and Sir John Evans, retired Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and former President of the Association of Chief Police Officers.
A preliminary hearing of the Robert Hamill Inquiry was held on 24 May 2005 at Craigavon Courthouse, Portadown. The public hearings commenced on 13 January 2009 at the Interpoint Centre, Belfast, running for 77 days with closing submissions concluding on 17 December 2009.
Together with British Irish RIGHTS WATCH, CAJ made submissions to the Robert Hamill Inquiry which form part of the consolidated written closing submissions.
On the 12 March 2010, the Robert Hamill Inquiry published an interim report recommending that that the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland:
“Should reconsider urgently the decision, taken by the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in March 2004, to discontinue the prosecution of former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) Reserve Constable Robert Atkinson for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”
In keeping with its terms of reference, this Inquiry has engaged in a consultation process with a view to making recommendations which relate to any matters which have arisen during the course of the Inquiry. Interested organisations and individuals and members of the public have been invited to make submissions by 1 October 2010.
The Inquiry has indicated that it intends to deliver its report, together with recommendations, to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by the end 2010.
Full details about the Inquiry can be found at: www.roberthamillinquiry.org
• 17 Dec 2012
• Re: Rory Robinson – Information supplied to Judi Kemish, former solicitor to the Robert Hamill Inquiry by the PPSNI – 1 May 2012
Robinson gave evidence to the Inquiry Chairman on 11 March 2009. Thereafter, the Inquiry reported his conduct to the Chief Constable of the PSNI with a view to a prosecution for perjury.The police considered the evidence and information and the opinion of senior counsel was obtained.
The PPSNI decided on the information available to it that, given that any alleged false evidence to the Inquiry did not persist beyond the course of Robinson’s evidence – Robinson’s counsel having sought to correct his client’s misstatement, there was no evidence that the Inquiry reached any conclusion based upon Robinson’s false statement. Having regard to these issues, it was not considered that there was a reasonable prospect of conviction.
• 18 Feb 2013
• R v Atkinson, Atkinson and Hanvey
The proceedings were adjourned on 26th October 2012 to allow PSNI to complete certain further enquiries. Those enquiries are at an advanced stage and the case is relisted for hearing on 22nd March 2013.