Campaigners yesterday 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. LINK
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
But 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.
Following Wednesday's 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. LINK
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, Jack McConnell.
There 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.