8.10pm on Tuesday 16 May 1989, there was an incident involving
an assault on the person of Thomas Hamilton,
the leader in charge of the Boys' Club, which uses the small
Linlithgow Academy gym hall between the hours
of 6pm and 8pm on Tuesday evenings.
Hamilton left the premises, he was confronted
by two ladies, Doreen
Hagger and her friend Janet Reilly,
who emptied the contents of two buckets over him. The contents
turned out to be a fairly obnoxious concoction consisting of sun tan
oil, liquid manure, flour, fish manure, vinegar, wallpaper paste and
any rubbishy stinking stuff they could lay their hands on. The
end result was that Hamilton was soaked by
the substance and required assistance to clean himself and the attendant
mess. The janitorial staff provided such assistance as was necessary.
The incident was technically
an assault and as a result the police were
called to the school by the janitor. Hamilton
was interviewed at length by the police but
surprisingly declined to press charges against the ladies involved.
mother Doreen Hagger and her friend Janet
took the law into their own hands to try and stop Hamilton's
club and camp. Mrs Hagger told Hamilton:
"I'm sorry I couldn't get a wee
boy to rub it in", referring to the sun tan oil, as
she and her friend threw the obnoxious bucket creations over him, before
Mrs Hagger kicked him up the backside.
11-year old son Andrew was among the boys who attended Hamilton's
camp on Inchmoan Island, Loch Lomond
in the summer of 1988. [Andrew had some time before told the police
when investigating Hamilton that the boys
at the camp were asked by Hamilton to rub
sun tan oil over him. Hamilton
slept in the same tent as the boys.]
said she was not a lawbreaker but felt so distressed by what Andrew
told her about his stay at the camp - which was being investigated by
Strathclyde Police - that she wanted to end
up in court so that a judge would hear her story and a proper investigation
would take place. The women told the police
it was ridiculous that they were not being charged.
Earlier in 1989, Hamilton,
who ran Falkirk Boys Club in Graeme High School, had his let withdrawn
by the Regional Council, for which Central
Scotland Police were probing.
Hagger's son had previously been thrown by Hamilton
into the loch off a boat wearing a lifejacket, frightened for his life,
having fallen into a harbour in his earlier years. Mrs Hagger
visited the camp in 1988 and stated in her complaint to the police
that her son was forced to wear swimming trunks - and nothing else. "It
was pathetic," she said. "The boys were standing
about blue with the cold, Others were sobbing and crying, wanting
to go home. Hamilton wouldn't let them."
- ENDS -
A recommendation was made
to the Head of the Community Education Service in Lothian Region Council
that the club should be de-registered on the grounds that the ratio
of leader to members was unsatisfactory; that there was no parental
committee; that other regional councils could
not recommend Thomas Hamilton's clubs; that
he was not affiliated to the Scottish Association of Boys Clubs; and
that there was no insurance. However, despite this, Thomas
Hamilton was granted a further let for the year starting
in the autumn of 1988.
In May 1989, a further
complaint was made about Thomas Hamilton and
was later presented on behalf of Mrs Doreen Hagger
by her councillor. The complaint was that there had been inappropriate
activities at the camp on Inchmoan Island.
Mrs Hagger was one of the parents of
boys who had attended that camp and, following her son making a complaint,
she had gone to the island and eventually agreed to assist Thomas
Hamilton with the camp. At a later stage, when Inspector
Keenan interviewed her son it emerged that Thomas Hamilton
had allegedly rubbed suntan oil on the boys at the camp and had asked
them to do so all over his body, on some occasions when he was not wearing
pants. She did not witness this herself. She became extremely
opposed to his activities and decided to do her utmost to persuade others
of his unsuitability to supervise boys clubs.
On 16 May 1989, Mrs Hagger,
along with Mrs Janet Reilly, who had also
assisted at the camp on Inchmoan Island, assaulted
Thomas Hamilton by pouring various substances
including suntan oil over him as he was leaving Linlithgow
Academy at the end of one of the meetings of the club.
In her evidence Mrs Hagger said that she wanted
to stop Thomas Hamilton organising another
camp. She wanted to be taken to court for assaulting him so that
there would be a proper investigation. She arranged for a press
reporter to be present with a photographer so that she could obtain
the maximum publicity from the incident. She also wanted Lothian
Regional Council to revoke the let at Linlithgow
Academy. To her great disappointment Thomas
Hamilton refused to make any complaint against her and
remained calm and polite.
It is reasonably plain
that Mrs Hagger's actions led to the Regional
Council becoming aware that the 1988 camp had been the
subject of police investigations. Through
the confusion between the original report to the Procurator Fiscal at
Dumbarton (who had already decided to take no proceedings) and the report
by Inspector Keenan the education department of the Regional
Council was given to understand that a decision on proceedings
against Thomas Hamilton was still pending. On
this basis the Regional Council considered
that it had a duty to protect the children which justified them in suspending
the let while investigations were proceeding. In these circumstances
they suspended the let in May 1989.
responded by making a complaint to the Ombudsman, but the latter decided
not to carry out an investigation. He stated that he did
not consider that any criticism could be levelled at the Regional
Council having regard to the high duty of care where children
were involved. It may be noted that in this case the existence
of parental complaints, in combination with the fact that there had
been a police investigation, were sufficient
to tip the balance against the complaint. In due course the
Regional Council was informed that no action
was to be taken against Thomas Hamilton. He
was told that if he submitted an application it would be considered.
Despite this, the Regional Council had developed
a policy whereby any space which he sought would be allocated for community
use so as to be unavailable for him. The assistant Director of
Education, Mr J Perry, said in evidence that they had a feeling that
his organisation was not suitable but they could not prove it.