Former RUC officers due to give evidence at the Robert Hamill murder inquiry have succeeded in overturning a ruling that they are not entitled to remain anonymous.    

A judge in Belfast's High Court upheld an application for judicial review brought by a former officer, known only as L, on behalf of about 20 retired colleagues who have been called as witnesses.

The ruling means that individual ex-officers will now be able to make their own claim for anonymity.

Robert Hamill, a 25-year-old Catholic, was beaten and kicked to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, Co Armagh, in 1997.

Police have denied claims that four RUC officers in a land rover saw what was happening and failed to intervene.

The inquiry has been set up to determine if there was any wrongful act or omission by police which facilitated Mr Hamill's death or obstruction of the investigation into it.

The police witnesses challenged the refusal of anonymity because they claimed that if their identities were made known their lives would be at risk.