THE former Education
Convener of Central Region admitted yesterday
he signed an application by Thomas Hamilton
for official approval of one of his boys' clubs without having read
the form properly.
Ball, a university lecturer, was also said to have seen
photographs of children taken by the Dunblane killer
and had been made aware of a secret plan by council officials to deny
Hamilton the use of council premises.
was recalled to the inquiry - he gave evidence
last week - after a witness spoke of having advised him that by 1995
there was a widespread, though unofficial practice of discouraging
Hamilton from the use of school premises.
43, a staff training development officer now with Stirling
Council, said he had been contacted by a counterpart
in Strathclyde who was concerned about whether
two signatures on Hamilton's application
for registration as an approved club in Kirkintilloch
- which would have qualified for reduced rates - were genuine.
The then Central
Region, he said, by that time had a strategy to discourage
Hamilton from getting lets by allocating
premises to more deserving groups.
was known throughout education that Hamilton
was to be discouraged and obstacles put in his way, although it couldn't
be done officially."
a community officer from Strathclyde contacted
him to say Hamilton's application had been
signed by Dr Robert Ball, he had spoken
to the then education convener. Mr Houston
said he had explained to Dr Ball they were
trying to prevent Hamilton from getting
said he had seen
the photographs and that there was nothing illegal about
taking photographs of young people and until there was hard evidence,
he had a duty to sign it. The words he used
were that Hamilton was one
of his 'punters' - meaning one of his constituents."
[Ed. ~ The term "punters" is an informal
reference to several types of people, but "constituents"
is certainly not one them.]
Reminded by Iain
Bonomy, Crown Counsel, that
the application stated that Hamilton was
"known to me and worthy of support", Dr Ball
said he felt the form was an application for a let and difficult
"I thought it was
a let application. I perhaps didn't give it as much attention
as I should have done."