02 March 2003
Dunblane secret documents contain
letters by Tory and Labour Ministers.
between Labour and Tory ministers and correspondence relating to
Thomas Hamilton's alleged involvement with Freemasonry are part
of a batch of more than 100 documents about the Dunblane mass murder
which have been sealed from public sight for 100 years.
include a letter connected to Hamilton, sent by George Robertson,
the then head of Nato, to Michael Forsyth, who was the current Secretary
of State for Scotland.
Until now it was thought that a 100-year public
secrecy order had only been placed on one police report into Hamilton
which allegedly named high-profile politicians and legal figures.
However, a Sunday Herald investigation has uncovered that 106 documents,
which were submitted to the Dunblane inquiry in 1996, were also
placed under the 100-year rule.
The Scottish Executive has claimed the 100-year
secrecy order was placed on the Central Police report, which was
drafted in 1991 five years before the murders, to protect the identities
of children named in the report. Hamilton had allegedly
abused a number of children prior to his 1996 gun attack on Dunblane
primary school in which 16 primary one children and a teacher died
before Hamilton turned the gun on himself. LINK
However, only a handful of the documents, which
the Sunday Herald has discovered to be also subject to the 100-year
rule, relate to children or name alleged abuse victims.
The most intriguing document is listed as: 'Copy
of letter from Thomas Hamilton to Dunblane parents regarding boys'
club, and flyer advertising Dunblane Boys' Sports Club. Both
sent to Rt Hon Michael Forsyth, MP, Secretary of State for Scotland,
by George Robertson MP.' Also
closed under the 100-year rule is a 'submission to Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
MP, Minister of State at the Scottish Office, concerning government
evidence to the Inquiry'.
Another document relates to correspondence between
the clerk of the Dunblane inquiry, which was presided over by Lord
Cullen, and a member of the public regarding 'possible affiliations
of Thomas Hamilton with Freemasonry LINK
... and copy letters from Thomas Hamilton'.
SNP deputy justice minister, Michael Matheson,
said: 'The explanation to date about the 100 -year rule was that
it was put in place to protect the interests of children named in
the Central Police report. How can that explanation stand
when children aren't named? The 100-year rule needs to
be re-examined with respect to all documents.'
Matheson has written to the Lord Advocate, Colin
Boyd, asking why the 100-year rule applies and how it can be revoked.
He has so far had no response. He also asked First
Minister Jack McConnell to explain the reasons for the 100-year
order but received 'no substantial answer'. Matheson is to
write to Colin Boyd a second time, in the light of the discovery
that more than 100 other documents are also sealed, asking him to
account for the decision. LINK
A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: 'In consultation
with the Crown Office and the Scottish Office, Lord Cullen agreed
that in line with the age of some of the individuals involved and
named in the inquiry, the closure period would be 100 years.
The Lord Advocate is considering issuing a redacted copy of the
productions, which would blank out identifying details of children
and their families. A decision on this has yet to be made.'
Other sealed key reports on Dunblane include:
- A 'comparative analysis of Thomas Hamilton'
by Central Scotland Police
- Information about Hamilton's 'use and possession of firearms'
- Pathology reports, Hamilton's autopsy report, and analysis
by Glasgow University's forensic science lab on blood, urine
and liver samples from Hamilton's body
- Details on firearms licensing policies
- A review by Alfred Vannet, regional
procurator fiscal of Grampian, Highland and Islands, of 'reports
and information in respect of Thomas Hamilton submitted to the
procurator fiscals of Dumbarton and Stirling by Strathclyde
Police and Central Police'
- A psychological report on Hamilton
- Guidance from the British Medical Association on granting
- 'Transcript of and correspondence relating to answering-machine
tape which accidentally recorded conversation between
police officers at the scene of the Dunblane incident'
- Correspondence and witness statements 'relating to allegations
of sexual abuse made against Hamilton'.
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