Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:16 UK

Hamill panel get medical records

Robert Hamill
Robert Hamill was beaten to death in Portadown in 1997

The Robert Hamill inquiry is to receive medical records of a woman who failed to give evidence to the tribunal.

Tracey Clarke is the former partner of a man once suspected of murdering Mr Hamill, 25, in Portadown in April 1997.

She blamed medical reasons for her non-appearance at an oral hearing in January. Judges ruled the inquiry was entitled to review her health records.

The court was told her evidence went right to the heart of the issues being investigated by the tribunal.

Ms Clarke may also face a further High Court hearing for contempt after failing to give evidence to the tribunal looking at the RUC inquiry into the death of Mr Hamill, who died 11 days after he was kicked and beaten by a loyalist mob.

She has refused to comply with anything that is going to put the inquiry in a position to judge what her medical condition is
Ashley Underwood QC
Barrister for the Inquiry

Her former fiance Alister Hanvey was accused of murder but charges were dropped.

Ms Clarke gave information to police which led to a series of arrests in connection with the killing, but later informed prosecutors she would not be giving evidence against any of the suspects.

The court heard she claimed to have been a witness to the attack before retracting her statement.

It was further alleged that a police officer contacted Mr Hanvey following the murder and told him to dispose of the clothes he was wearing that night.

Mr Hanvey has appeared before the inquiry and denied involvement in Mr Hamill's murder.

With uncertainty over her health, lawyers for the inquiry sought an order for medical reports compiled on her.

'Psychiatric illness'

Ashley Underwood QC claimed: "She has refused to comply with anything that is going to put the inquiry in a position to judge what her medical condition is."

Ms Clarke's barrister, Tony McGleenan, said she had been assessed as suffering from a psychiatric illness and did not want "third parties prying into the consultations she has had with consultant psychiatrists".

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Mr Justice Weatherup, said the judges had studied a file on her.

"The comprehensive report, together with two short review letters, should be disclosed," he ruled.

Sir Declan also fixed a date later this month when any submissions on possible contempt of court proceedings will be heard.

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