The Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, released only
four police reports on Hamilton in the wake of criticisms against
the Crown Office for allowing 110 documents on the case to be
kept secret for 100 years.
It emerged last night that the bulk of the secret
briefings, about 106 separate files, will continue to be hidden
in Scotland's national archive pending further review by the Lord
The decision has increased speculation that a number
of documents relating to the massacre further criticise police officers
who investigated Hamilton and question the historical relationship
between senior political figures and the killer. LINK
Last night, Frank Blake, whose wife, Mary, a teacher
survived the 1996 massacre which left 16 Dunblane Primary School
children and another teacher dead, welcomed the release of some
of the police reports but said the families wanted all the documentation
made available to the public.
Mr Blake said: "We are not entirely happy
with this move by the Crown Office. They have not divulged
the whole lot and we want everything made public. They shouldn't
just be divulging part of the evidence. We want to know
why they were put away by Cullen [Lord Cullen chaired an inquiry
into the massacre] for 100 years; what was the reason for that?
We want to know what is so important in these papers, what do they
have to hide from public view?"
Last month, the SNP's justice spokesman, Michael
Matheson, joined other MSPs in calling for a review of the investigation
after claims that a number of reports, compiled before and after
the massacre, were suppressed because they revealed links between
Hamilton and a number of prominent Scots political figures.
The Central Scotland MSP triggered the debate by asking the Lord
Advocate to reconsider the time ban, imposed by Lord Cullen after
his inquiry, in the light of the new freedom of information legislation.
The official Crown Office reason for the 100-year
closure period related to the fact that some documents refer to
people who were children at the time and whose identities need to
be protected in the newly-released police reports via deletion of
Mr Matheson claimed that the release of four documents
was a "step in the right direction" but criticised the
fact that more than 100 remain secret. He said:" I have
been calling for many weeks for all the documents with a 100-year
rule relating to Dunblane to be made public. This announcement
from the Lord Advocate is a step in the right direction.
However, this decision only relates to four police reports, which
means that over 100 documents remain secret. I hope therefore
that this is only a first step by the Lord Advocate and that he
intends to make public the remaining documents as soon as possible.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Office claimed the
other documents could still be released from the national archive
but a decision would not be made for some time. She said:
"In light of recent public concern expressed about the 100-year
period, all police reports submitted to the procurator fiscal in
relation to Thomas Hamilton have been reviewed. The Lord
Advocate considered if it would be appropriate to make these reports
available for public inspection and decided that in the exceptional
circumstances these reports should be made available. Once
the rest of the documents are catalogued by staff at the National
Archives, Mr Boyd will then consider whether more material can be
The reports released last night failed to shed
any light on why the authorities failed to prevent Hamilton's gun
licence being reviewed. The 230-page dossier of documents
had been widely tipped to give information on Hamilton's application
for a handgun licence and outline his alleged links to the masonic
Instead it detailed four investigations conducted
about Hamilton between 1988 and 1993 over complaints about alleged
abuse and mistreatment of boys at youth camps he ran.
One report raises concerns that Hamilton "induces
certain children to dress in very tight tunics which he provides
for them outwith the knowledge of their parents", and notes
that he took photographs of them in "questionable circumstances".
Details of these investigations were considered by Lord Cullen's
inquiry in the wake of the massacre.