Robert Hamill family’s anguish as murder case files are lost in post

Posted By: January 31, 2015

Background note on the below article: “Key information on Robert Hamill murder inquiry ‘lost’”


Back in 1999, on April 22, the Irish National Caucus arranged for Diane Hamill, Robert’s sister, to testify at a Congressional Hearing before the House International Relations Committee, then Chaired by Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY). Ben was a champion of Irish justice in the Congress ( 1973-2003). And, thank God, he is still with us at the age of 92. We have been blessed by the support of Jewish-American Members of Congress.


Key information on Robert Hamill murder inquiry ‘lost’

Gerry Moriarty. Irish Times. Thursday, January 29, 2015, 19:16


The British Ministry of Justice has confirmed it has lost key information about the inquiry into the murder of Robert Hamill.


Mr Hamill was fatally assaulted in a loyalist attack in Portadown, Co Armagh in April 1997.


The ministry said two discs relating to the official inquiry into Mr Hamill’s killing and to two other sensitive inquiries were lost in the post earlier this month.


The two other independent inquiries deal with the fatal police shootings in London of crime suspects, Mark Duggan in 2011 and Azelle Rodney in 2005.


All three inquiries have concluded although the report into Mr Hamill’s murder is yet to be published. It is claimed the RUC colluded in the killing in that police at the scene of the assault allegedly failed to intervene.


He and his friends were attacked in the centre of Portadown following a night out in the town.


The Ministry said its officials became aware on January 8th that two discs containing documents relating to these inquiries were missing, having been dispatched by post.


“The government takes information security extremely seriously, and this incident is a breach of the arrangements that should be in place,” it said.


One staff member was suspended as a result of the losses. “Once concluded disciplinary action will be taken if appropriate,” said the Ministry.


The Ministry said that lawyers were commissioned to undertake a review of all the inquiry documents to identify any confidential or sensitive information relating to individuals or agencies and enable any risks to be assessed. “Individuals will be contacted, where appropriate, to inform them of any personal information relating to them,” it added.


The Ministry said there was no evidence to indicate that the losses arose from “malicious intent”.


“Nevertheless, it is essential to take the most precautionary view and to take all necessary steps to safeguard the interests of anyone whose information could be disclosed,” it added.


Sinn Féin education Minister John O’Dowd said the loss of the information relating to Mr Hamill raised very serious questions. “Given the nature of this inquiry and the delays that the family have experienced this will undoubtedly raise suspicions from those looking in on the inquiry,” he said.


“All steps must now be taken to retrieve this information and to restore confidence in this process,” added Mr O’Dowd.


SDLP MLA for Upper Bann Dolores Kelly said the loss of the Hamill disc increased concerns “of cover-up”.


Senior British lawyer Michael Mansfield, who has represented the Hamill family, expressed shock at the losses. “I have to say I am staggered,” he said, adding that he had believed that British government distribution rules had been “tightened up” following a succession of losses “on buses, or in the back of taxis”.


The British government could be badly embarrassed if the discs ever came into the public gaze and provided information that was never given during inquests and inquiries into controversial killings, he said.


Mr Mansfield added that the discs could be highly dangerous if they contained secret information about the identities of police officers or intelligence agents.


© 2015





BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD . Belfast Telegraph. January 30, 2015


The family of a Catholic man beaten to death by a loyalist mob have spoken of their anger after case files were lost in the post.

Sensitive information on the murder of Robert Hamill in Portadown 18 years ago went missing earlier this month.


Files on two other judge-led inquiries, including the police shooting of Mark Duggan, are also missing, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.


The blunder has sparked a major security alert with police officers warned their identities could be leaked.


The marksman who killed Mr Duggan in north London in 2011, sparking England-wide riots, has never been made public. Relatives of Mr Hamill have requested an urgent meeting with officials. They want to know if previously unpublished material is contained in the lost files.


“We are at a loss to understand why any material relating to the Robert Hamill inquiry should have been posted or sent at this particular time, given the fact that the inquiry report itself was completed in February 2011,” the family said.


Officials realised two discs containing documents about the Duggan, Hamill and Azelle Rodney inquiries were lost earlier this month.


In a statement the MoJ said police have taken “necessary steps” to ensure the protection of any officers whose information could be disclosed.


Meanwhile, the Government has launched an investigation into the security breach of its guidelines and said disciplinary action will be taken if appropriate.


All three men died in controversial circumstances, resulting in judge-led inquiries.


Mr Hamill, a 25-year-old Catholic, was attacked and beaten by loyalists in Portadown in 1997.


Mr Duggan’s shooting in north London in 2011 sparked the biggest riots in modern English history.


Meanwhile, Mr Rodney (24) was shot six times while travelling in a car that was stopped by police in Edgware, north London, in April 2005.