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THE SCOTSMAN, Wednesday, June 26 1996
Cullen Inquiry - fiscals not to be probed about Hamilton
Law officer tells of reports on complaints
James Caedle Procurator Fiscal
James Cardle:  Marked case for no proceedings


IN A rare legal move, the two procurators fiscal who considered complaints against Thomas Hamilton gave evidence from the witness box at the Cullen Inquiry yesterday.

Their evidence was sanctioned by Lord Mackay of Drumadoon, the Lord Advocate, under the stricture that they should not be questioned about why they had taken no action against Hamilton. LINK

James Cardle, 62, a retired fiscal at Dumbarton, said he had received a report on complaints about a camp run by Hamilton at Inchmoan Island at Loch Lomond in 1988 and confirmed that he had decided not to initiate criminal proceedings. LINK

He subsequently received another report on the summer camp, which he realised was a complaint against the police, and he passed it to Strathclyde Police's complaints and discipline department.

Reminded by the Crown counsel, Iain Bonomy, that the report contained statements from witnesses who had not been interviewed at the time of the first report, and that police probably intended that he should reconsider the case against Hamilton, Mr Cardle said that he would not have done that.  He said he had already marked the case for no proceedings and it would have been "futile" to consider any other evidence.

Under no circumstances, according to the rules provided by the Appeal Court, could he investigate matters which had become available through a complaint against the police.

William Gallacher, 37, formerly a fiscal depute at Stirling, confirmed that he had refused a search warrant for Hamilton's home in 1993, after receiving a report which highlighted potential criminal offences, including dishonesty, lewd and libidinous practices and a contravention of the Children and Young Persons Act.

His conclusion was that the warrant should not be granted on the basis that there was not enough information that a crime had been committed.  "I thought it was behaviour which was a cause for concern but did not cross the boundary."

Later the junior Crown counsel, Jonathan Lake, read the 18-page independent report prepared on the dealings of the fiscal departments with Hamilton.  It revealed that Mr Cardle had been troubled by events at Loch Lomond and thought it appropriate to refer them to the social work department and children's panel.

Questioning of the boys at a later date disclosed discrepancies and incidents uncorroborated and, although Mr Cardle recommended no action, he remained concerned.

The dossier recorded Mr Gallacher as saying that, although the large number of photographs of boys, in skimpy gym gear and in a variety of poses, that had been taken by Hamilton were troubling, they could not be described as indecent.

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