Home Robertson MSP
The Town House
Thank you for your
letter of 15 July 2006.
Are you aware
that the matters raised by Mr Scott have already
been the subject of lengthy correspondence both from officials of
COPES and myself? I have provided Mr Scott
with an explanation as to how the decision was taken to impose a
closure period of 100 years on the documents
to the Dunblane Inquiry. I
am also aware that he does not accept the explanation provided to
him and in the circumstances there is nothing further that I can
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W W Scott,
23, St. Baldred's Road,
Tel/Fax: 01620 892489
Mr. John Home Robertson,
The Town House,
Dunbar, EH42 1ER.
Dear Mr Robertson
I thank you for
your letter of 22nd inst.
I cannot deny
that there has been lengthy correspondence as the Lord Advocate
states but surely the opinion of Ms. Lynda Clark should be treated
with more respect. He claims correctly that he has provided
me with an explanation as to how the decision was taken to impose
a closure period of 100 years on the documents to the Dunblane Inquiry
however that is not the same as making clear where the authority
came from to impose the closure order. LINK
correspondence referred to includes many pages detailing the legislation
under which the Inquiry was set up. That information was never
requested. He and his officials sent a more or less standard
letter to all who enquired about the 100-year closure. After
explaining the setting up the letter described guidelines and criteria
which are used to administer closures.
Mr. Boyd was
content to allow you and others to believe that there was statutory
authority for the closure until he was forced to admit that there
was no such authority. He had no other choice after the Keeper
of the Records of Scotland informed me that there was no statutory
basis for the closure.
The Lord Advocate
has said that there is no document to give authority for the closure.
It is strange that papers can be hidden for 100 years without some
form of written authority. The decision to impose the closure
order was taken at a meeting on 13th January 1997. At that
meeting was the Clerk to the Inquiry and representatives of the
Scottish Records Office, the Police and the Crown Office and Procurator
Fiscal Service. Lord Cullen in a letter to me wrote that
those who attended that meeting did not have the authority, individually
or collectively, to impose a closure order.
Ms. Lynda Clark
QC as well as stating that "under Scots law there is no legislation
which provides for a hundred year closure" also wrote "that understanding
of the way in which closure of public records is operated is not
the same as legal authority."
Mr. Leolin Price
QC wrote "in recent years guidance, guidelines and the like are
issued by departments and treated as if they are law; but they are
If the Lord
Advocate is challenging the views of these learned people, as it
appears to me that he most definitely is, then he should publicly
say so and give his reasons for so doing.
I trust you
will help to clarify this matter.
Read William W Scott's letter to the Freedom of Information Unit,
and other info', LINK.
Read the letter from the Chairman of the Scottish Affairs
Committee Mohammad Sarwar MP to William W Scott, LINK.]