CULLEN INQUIRY

THE SCOTSMAN, Wednesday, 12 June 1996

Officials tell of Hamilton gun renewals
Ian McKenzie, who signed firearms renewals for Thomas Hamilton, leaves the inquiry.
JOHN SMITH

 

 

                                              : Examiner who approved extension of firearms certificate admits he lacked experience of handguns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SCOTLAND
'S first civilian firearms examiner yesterday admitted he had no experience of handguns when he got the job with Central Scotland Police less than a year before he renewed Thomas Hamilton's weapons licence.

Norman Lynch, 35, told the Cullen inquiry he had worked between 1981 and 1988 in a Glasgow gun shop but had gained no experience of handguns because the shop did not deal in them.

Before joining the force in April 1991 he had been working in a whisky bond.  When he moved to Central Scotland Police he received six months of training in the computer system for firearms licensing and then in legislation.

Mr Lynch said that when Hamilton's renewal application came to him in January 1992, he was satisfied he still ought to have authority to possess 1,500 rounds of ammunition for four or five years.

Mr Bonomy, QC, for the Crown, said exhaustive police inquiries since the Dunblane tragedy failed to find any evidence of Hamilton having bought any ammunition for four or five years.

Mr Lynch said the reasons for requiring each of the firearms and ammunition had been stated as target shooting.  He always checked in the case of handguns to see if the applicant was a full member of a Home Office approved gun club.

Mr Lynch, asked what evidence existed that Thomas Hamilton had taken part in competition shoots, said: "I know that the club itself shot at other clubs and various ranges."

Asked why Hamilton would need two Smith & Wesson revolvers and two Browning pistols, Mr Lynch replied that it was a back-up because semi-automatic weapons could jam.  In Hamilton's case, he said, they would be used for competitions in his club and, he presumed, other club's competitions.

Ian McKenzie, a retired police superintendent, told the inquiry he had responsibility for checking the accuracy of records held in the firearms department at Central and the certificates themselves.

Mr McKenzie, who signed Hamilton's renewals in 1989 and 1992, said he was unaware Hamilton had been the subject of two police investigations.

Mr Bonomy asked whether having been shown the documents last week by the Crown, he was surprised the information had not percolated through to the person dealing with firearms, Mr McKenzie replied: "Yes, I am."

Mr Bonomy asked about Det Sgt Hughes's 1991 memo calling for Hamilton's firearms certificate not to be renewed, which never reached the firearms department.   Mr McKenzie agreed that it should have gone on the department's file.  "I would have expected it."

Mr Bonomy said: "Would it have made any difference to the renewal in 1992 if it had been?"   Mr McKenzie said: "In my opinion, no."   The witness said that he would not have gone back to look at evidence examined by the deputy chief constable and marked for no action.

Laura Dunlop, advocate for the bereaved families and injured children, asked Mr Lynch if he would have recommended against renewal of Hamilton's certificate if he had seen Det Sgt Hughes's memo, without knowing that the deputy chief constable had marked it for no action.

He replied: "The memo from Det Sgt Hughes would have raised concerns in my mind and from that I would have asked for further clarification of a number of issues."

Miss Dunlop said: "Can you recall an occasion on which an officer submitted a memorandum in which he said: 'This person in my opinion should not have a firearms certificate because of the type of person he is'?"  Mr McKenzie replied: "For the type of person, I can't recall any."

Mr McKenzie said Det Sgt Hughes's reference to Hamilton being an "unsavoury character and an unstable personality" would have been sufficient for him to have made further inquiries.

Miss Dunlop said: "When Sgt Hughes goes on to say in his final paragraph he is a scheming, devious and deceitful individual who is not to be trusted ... as a matter of common sense do you not agree that such a person should not have a firearms certificate?"

Mr McKenzie said: "Whether it is common sense or not, my decision would be based on the firearms act, and whether or not I consider the person to be unfit to be trusted with a firearm.  I had no evidence to suggest that Mr Hamilton would commit further offences using a firearm."

He agreed with Miss Dunlop that Det Sgt Hughes's report was not "sufficiently adverse" to have recommended revocation of Hamilton's licence.

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Copyright © 2016 William Burns. All rights reserved.

Firearms Certificate

Dunblane Massacre
Click here to view the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue
Emma Crozier
Kevin Hassell
Victoria Clydesdale
Ross Irvine
David Kerr
John Petrie
Hanna Scott
Joanna Ross
Sophie North
Emily Morton
Maegan Turner
Brett McKinnon
Abigail McLennan
Charlotte Dunn
Mhairi MacBeath
Melissa Currie
Gwen Hodson/Mayor - schoolteacher
List of the victims of the Dunblane Massacre
The stained glass window in St Blane's Church, Dunblane, which commemorates the victims of the 1996 Massacre
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We know that the above victims were killed by Thomas Hamilton, but, although we may not care, we do not know for sure who killed Thomas Hamilton, and why that person was carrying a revolver at the time!
Dunblane Cover-up
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Law Lords who are members of the exclusive, secretive, Masonic and highly suspect Speculative Society of Edinburgh (Spec):
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How many more non-SPEC Law Lords are Masons nevertheless?
Acknowledgement:
Credit to Tom Minogue for unearthing the SPEC roll of dishonour and also its founding members.