Press Notice .

Arrangements for the Inquiry’s full hearings - Briefing note
12th March 2009

This briefing note contains background information on the schedule and practical arrangements for the full hearings phase of the Robert Hamill Inquiry for use by journalists. If you are a journalist and require any further information, please contact the Inquiry’s Press Officer, Liz Fawcett, on +44 (0) 28 9020 0811 or +44 (0) 771 943 56621. Further information is also available on the Inquiry’s website:


The Inquiry currently proposes to hear evidence from approximately 160 witnesses in person. Transcripts of the evidence will be published on the Inquiry’s website the following day.

Due to the present security situation in Northern Ireland, the Inquiry cannot currently publish on its website the names or any details of the witnesses who are to be called to give evidence. However, the dates and times of all hearings will be published in advance on the Inquiry’s website, and the Inquiry’s Press Officer, Liz Fawcett, will provide advance information about the dates and times of sittings to interested journalists.

The Inquiry will sit from 10.30am – 4.30pm on Tuesdays to Fridays unless otherwise specified. It may sometimes be necessary to sit earlier and/or finish the hearings later. During its full hearings, the Inquiry will generally sit for three weeks in every four.

The evidence which is relevant to the Inquiry’s terms of reference has been divided into thematic sections. Each section will be preceded by an opening address from the Leading Counsel to the Inquiry, Ashley Underwood QC, who will outline the nature of that evidential section.

Below and overleaf is a list of each of the remaining opening addresses by Counsel to the Inquiry together with the dates on which it is currently anticipated they will be made:

Opening 6  -  18 March       

Opening 7  -   2 April          

Opening 8  -  21 April         

Opening 9  -  29 April          

Opening 10 - 14 May        

These dates may be subject to change.

The Inquiry hopes to hear most of the oral evidence by the end of May 2009, although it has scheduled further sittings in September 2009 to hear any outstanding oral evidence. The Inquiry hopes to complete its report and present it to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by June 2010.

The legal representatives for the main interested parties to the Inquiry are as follows:

-         Leading Counsel for the Hamill family: Barra McGrory QC

-         Junior Counsel for the Hamill family:  Eugene McKenna

-         Leading Counsel for the PSNI: Richard Ferguson QC

-         Junior Counsel for the PSNI: Martin J Wolfe

-         Leading Counsel for witness P61 (a former RUC Reserve Constable who is one of the key witnesses): Margaret Ann Dinsmore QC

-         Junior Counsel for P61:  Jim Mallon

Practical arrangements for the media

A media room is available for use by journalists. This has a screen showing the Inquiry proceedings and headsets which journalists can use to follow the proceedings. Journalists are permitted to bring laptops into the media room and broadband connections are available which journalists are welcome to use.

There are two telephones in the media room for the use of journalists. These can receive incoming calls. The numbers for these lines are: +44 (0)28 9054 4973 and +44 (0) 28 9054 4972.

Journalists may bring mobile phones into the media room when the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry, which shares the same media room, is not sitting. They must first sign an undertaking that they will not use their phone to record any part of the proceedings. However, mobile phones may not be brought in when the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry is sitting.  On those days, journalists using the media room can request that one of the security guards alert them if they receive a call.

Tea and coffee facilities are also available for use by journalists.

12 March 2008

Please note that, on some days when the Inquiry is sitting, Liz (or her associate, Lesley Walsh) will be based at the Inquiry’s Belfast offices and will only be directly available on +44 (0) 9054 4978, due to the Inquiry’s restrictions on the use of mobile phones.

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