called for a review of the 100-year secrecy rule imposed on some documents
seen by the inquiry into the Dunblane killings which were never made
public. The move comes after the Scottish cabinet this week
instructed Scotland's most senior law officer to look again at the
100-year ban placed on a police report on Thomas Hamilton, who murdered
16 primary schoolchildren and their teacher.
There have been allegations
that the lengthy closure order was placed
on the report after it linked Hamilton to
figures in the Scottish establishment, including two senior politicians
and a lawyer.
the crown office says the decision to impose
the ban - by Lord Cullen, who chaired the
inquiry - was made to protect the identity
of children who may have been abused by Hamilton,
and their families.
Scottish cabinet meeting, it was announced that the lord
advocate, Colin Boyd QC, would
look at the feasibility of publishing the report with the children's
names deleted. But Michael Matheson,
the Scottish National Party's shadow deputy
justice minister, questioned whether the lord advocate's
review would go far enough. He said: "There are more
documents covered by the 100-year rule than
this police report. Some of them have
nothing whatsoever to do with children. We need to look at why
such a lengthy ban has been imposed on them. I have been
contacted by a number of families affected by the tragedy who are
anxious to ensure this information becomes public. And
so far we have no guarantee that it will. We only have a review."
The report banned under
the 100-year rule was compiled by Paul Hughes, then a detective sergeant
with Central Scotland Police, and concerns Thomas Hamilton's activities
at a summer camp in Loch Lomond in 1991, five years before the shootings.
Selected extracts published during the Cullen Inquiry revealed it
recommended that Hamilton should be prosecuted for his activities
at the summer camp and that he should have his gun licence revoked.
The report, however,
was ignored. Although Lord Cullen
referred to it in his inquiry, it does not
feature in the index or appendices to his final report. Consent
from Lord Cullen is not needed to overturn
his ruling. "The decision is a matter for the lord
advocate," said a crown office
spokesman. If the report is published - as now seems likely
- the names of the politicians and lawyers it contains will not be
blanked out. "It is important we make available, if it
is at all possible, any information that is available about people
in the public eye," said the Scottish first minister,
has been much speculation about the identity of the politicians in
the report. It is known that in June 1996 Michael Forsyth, then Scottish
secretary and MP for Stirling, congratulated Hamilton on running a
boys' club in Dunblane. LINK
George Robertson, now
general secretary of NATO, withdrew his son from a club run by Hamilton
amid concern about its militaristic nature. LINK
No time frame has been
given for the lord advocate's review, but campaigners say he must
publish it in as full a form as possible. "I don't
know whether this is [a] cover-up or just a culture of secrecy, but
we need to publish this report to put everyone's minds at rest,"
Mr Matheson said.