Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament

Public Petitions Committee

Cullen Inquiry (100-year Closure Order) Petition PE652

Wednesday, 29 October 2003

Michael McMahon MSP

Convener Michael McMahon MSP


Ms Jackie Baillie MSP Jackie Baillie MSP , Helen Eadie MSP Helen Eadie MSP , Ms Linda Fabiani MSP Linda Fabiani MSP ,

Carolyn Leckie MSP Carolyn Leckie MSP , John Farquhar Munro MSP John Farquhar Munro MSP ,

Mr John Scott MSP (Deputy Convener ) John Scotr MSP ,

Mike Watson MSP Mike Watson MSP , Sandra White MSP Sandra White MSP .

Convener Michael McMahon Michael McMahon MSP : Petition PE652 is from Mr William Burns William Burns , who is present. LINK  The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to consider a range of issues, including initiating a new inquiry into events that relate to the Dunblane massacre; the 100-year closure order on some files that relate to the Cullen inquiry LINK; and membership by the Scottish judiciary of the Freemasons, the Speculative Society and other similar organisations.  Mr Burns has supplied a considerable amount of material with his petition, with the specific request that it be made available in full to all members of the Committee.  Accordingly, a copy of all the material provided has been issued to each member with their meeting papers. LINK

Before we begin, I make it clear that the committee has been advised by the Parliament's legal office that it would not be within the competence of the Parliament to overturn a court order, and that those sections of the full petition that call for such action are therefore inadmissible.  The petitioner has been advised of that and has indicated to the clerks that he disagrees with the advice, which he has the right to do.

For legal reasons, the full text of the petition was removed temporarily from the Parliament's website.  The clerks were advised that it could be argued that certain statements made in the petition are defamatory and that, because the petition has not yet been considered as part of the proceedings of the Parliament, the publication of the petition on the website could leave the Parliament open to defamation action.  Guidance on the submission of petitions states clearly that petitions should not "include language which is intemperate, inflammatory, sarcastic or provocative".

The petitioner has been advised of the reasons for the temporary removal of his petition and that it will be reinstated on the website immediately after the meeting. LINK


10:45am    The start of my oral presentation to the Public Petitions Committee

William BurnsWilliam Burns:  I do not think there is anyone in Scotland who now believes that the Cullen Inquiry into the Dunblane Massacre was anything other than a Masonic Whitewash. LINK The 100-year “Gagging Order” on my correspondence with the inquiry confirms that.  This Committee was provided with copies of my documents, so it cannot now ignore the existence of that solid evidence. LINK

At the time of the inquiry, Lord Cullen claimed there was no evidence of child sex-abuse in relation to Thomas Hamilton and his connections, but seven years later, Lord Cullen uses the fact that there was evidence of child sex-abuse to place a “Gagging Order” on the files, claiming it was imposed to protect the names of victims, even though most of the files that have been buried do not mention any names of victims.  My own files fall into that category.  It must be clear to the Committee that the only reason the content of my letters to Lord Cullen were “gagged” was precisely to keep the Masonic implication out of the equation; therefore out of the public eye.

The Lord Advocate has stated: "There is no statutory basis for the closure of records created by Scottish public bodies."

Those are his words, not mine.  They were produced in a publication on 18 March 2003 by the Scottish Executive - News Online, under the heading: "Dunblane police reports released". LINK

That disclosure alone makes a mockery of the Clerk to the Committee, Steve Farrell’s view that it is not within the competence of the Parliament to overturn or interfere with the terms of such an order.  The Scottish Parliament is the only body with the power to create a framework for imposing closure orders; but it must do so in the public interest, not in the interest of collaborators in secret societies. LINK

The Lord Advocate goes on to say: "The Public Records (Scotland) Act 1937 makes provision for the preservation, care and custody of the public records of Scotland.  The terms of the legislation are permissive."

That means they are lenient, tolerant or liberal, reflecting a belief that there should be as few restraints as possible.  “Preservation, custody and care of records” do not mean the exact opposite: the “smotheration, stash and snare” of public records.

The report continues: "By contrast, in England and Wales the Public Records Act 1958 (as amended by the Public Records Act 1967) sets a statutory 'closure period' of 30 years, after which records must, with limited exceptions, be made available to the public.  The 1937 Scottish Act does not impose similar obligations on Executive departments, but IN PRACTICE those procedures are followed in Scotland."

The phrase "in practice" means nothing and could be replaced with the words “convenience”, “habit”, “obsession”, “fixation”, “weakness” or a number of other meaningless slogans.  Even tradition has no authority in law.  The fact that something is widespread practice does not create a power that Parliament has denied or for which it has not legislated.

Since there is no framework for closure orders in Scotland, I am calling on Parliament to enact unequivocal legislation to prevent people with a vested interest from burying evidence and diverting the onus on to everyone from judges to procurators fiscal, to the police, to clerks and to every Tom, Dick and Harry chosen for the purpose, so that the real culprits can distance themselves from their illicit undertakings.

This closure order was enforced not to protect the names of the children concerned, who are now adults, but to protect the names of very high-profile Masons and paedophiles. LINK

Helen Eadie MSP Helen Eadie: In January 2003, the Justice 2 Committee agreed to take no further action on a similar petition, with the proviso that it would consider revisiting the issue if there were evidence of specific cases in which difficulties had arisen over judicial membership of the Freemasons or the Speculative Society.  The Public Petitions Committee believes that it is one thing to make statements and allegations, but another to provide evidence.  Do you have evidence that we could refer to the justice committees?
[Ed ~ The petition to which Helen Eadie referred was PE306 from Tom Minogue. LINK  There was indeed no further action taken on this petition, but the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament neglected its duty to address the requests made in PE306, despite the fact that Parliament insists petitioners "clearly show in their petitions the nature of the remedy or action sought".  By refusing to address the remedy or action sought in PE306, the Justice 2 Committee was able to callously "bury" it.  This gave all the other Committees carte blanche to conveniently resurrect the Justice 2 Committee's decision on PE306 in order to scupper petitions of a similar nature, claiming, falsely, that the issue had been previously dealt with in PE306.  To this day, it has still not been explained to Tom Minogue the reasons why PE306 was unsuccessful.]

William Burns William Burns: The Committee has my initial letters asking Lord Cullen whether he was a Freemason, on which a 100-year closure order was placed.  I know for a fact that it is a Masonic ruse to get someone else to deny that you are a Mason.  It is another ruse that someone who is asked whether he is a Freemason can say that he is not — he has to be asked whether he has ever taken the oath of an Entered Apprentice. LINK Lord Cullen used the ruse of getting someone else to deny that he had been a Mason when he got Glynis McKeand, the Clerk to the Cullen Inquiry, to telephone me to deny it.  To my everlasting regret, I took that as read at the time.  Later I found out that he is an extraordinary member of the Speculative Society, numbered at 1702. LINK The Speculative Society is an offshoot of Freemasonry; it was formed by Masons in the Canongate Kilwinning lodge in Edinburgh. LINK That is a fact; it is a Masonic set-up.

Helen Eadie MSP Helen Eadie:  I will press this issue a little bit further because it is one thing for you to give us hearsay, allegations and statements, but it is quite another to provide substantive evidence.  I ask you again, do you have substantive evidence that can be referred to the Justice 2 Committee, which said that it would consider revisiting the matter if substantive evidence was provided?

William Burns William Burns:  Are you asking for evidence of the Speculative Society?

Helen Eadie MSP Helen Eadie:  Either.

William Burns William Burns:  I have the whole list here of members of the Speculative Society and Cullen is on it.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:  I do not doubt that the list exists, Mr Burns.  Helen Eadie is asking whether you have any evidence that connects members of that society to any decision that has been made and the impact of that decision, so that we can take the petition further.  [Ed ~ That was NOT what Helen Eadie was asking.  I had in front of me the evidence of Cullen's denial of being a Freemason.  I also had the list of Spec members, but McMahon was unintersted in it.  He seemed determined to "divert the discourse"; whether he was a Mason or just used and abused by Masons.]

William Burns William Burns:  It was widely reported that Thomas Hamilton was in the Freemasons. LINK  While evidence was being given, I was reading the papers on a daily basis and I asked Lord Cullen to ask every witness whether they were in the Freemasons. LINK  It looks as if there was a cover-up to protect Thomas Hamilton over many years.   The evidence is in my submission and in the embargoed documents that have been put under the 100-year closure order.  Why else would Lord Cullen put the documents on a 100-year closure order?   They do not mention one name of a child victim.   I do not know the names of any of the child victims.  The only thing I referred to was Freemasonry and Cullen has embargoed my letters to protect Freemasonry.   That is obvious if you read the letters — there is no other reason.  It is the Masonic implication that has been buried, as far as my letters are concerned.  I am asking you why else Cullen would have buried the documents.  He has done it because they expose the Masonic connections.

Jackie Baillie MSP Jackie Baillie: In your view, that is critical to the wider issue.  From what the Lord Advocate has said about this matter, I understand that evidence of any child's name had been removed from police reports and they were ready to be released.  The National Archives of Scotland is producing a full catalogue of all the material and submissions.  As you will appreciate, there is a huge volume of material.  The Lord Advocate has gone on record as saying that when that catalogue is complete, he will consider what material can be released and whether all the material should stay under the 100-year closure order. LINK  I would have thought that would go some way to satisfying your concerns.  Am I misreading the situation?

William Burns William Burns:  You are not misreading it; I see where you are coming from, but it could take another 100 years to release material.

Jackie Baillie MSP Jackie Baillie:  I would hope not.

William Burns William Burns:  So many high-profile people are involved that that could be another ruse to put the public off.  It is the Parliament's duty to insist on having another inquiry so that we can be done with all this nonsense. LINK  It is just another stalling tactic.  My correspondence with Cullen should be accessible right now because there is nothing in it about any children; it is about the Masonic implication and that is the only reason why my correspondence has been buried.

Carolyn Leckie MSP Carolyn Leckie: I am particularly interested in the evidence you provided that show the amendments to the archived references to your correspondence and that does cause me concern that that had to be expanded, and obviously it was acknowledged that the correspondence did take place, and some of the subjects you were raising were necessary to be put on the archives.  It concerns me that they had to be amended.  If someone was doing a research of the material you mentioned, in the first two examples your name was not mentioned.  I do share some of your concerns about what evidence has already been placed in the public domain.  Will you expand on any correspondence that you have had in relation to what is currently not in the public domain?  What evidence do you believe is not already in the public domain?

I am a member of Unison, which asks in its application form if you are a member of the Freemasons.  I agree that people have the right to ask that question.  In the explanations that you have received, has it been explained why that question is not considered to be legitimate?  Mr Burns has raised legitimate questions about the 100-year closure order and its relationship with the powers of the Parliament.

I believe that the Parliament should consider investigating the matter and perhaps creating a framework to state how long a closure should last and what is acceptable and what goes a wee bit too far.

William Burns William Burns:  I believe that there is to be legislation to compel MSPs to declare whether they are members of the Freemasons.  Is that true? LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: I think that it is being discussed, but I do not know what stage it has reached.  It is under consideration, yes.

Carolyn Leckie MSP Carolyn Leckie: I make it clear that I am not a Mason — I am a woman and I would not be allowed anyway.

William Burns William Burns:  If no one has anything to hide, they should state that.  Members of the judiciary should declare whether they are Freemasons, especially when they are judging civil cases.  Freemasons take an oath of allegiance to one another so, if the judge and the plaintiff are both in the Freemasons, they will protect one another, as the fifth of the Five Points of Fellowship states that members must support a brother in his absence as in his presence.  That is the most important oath that Masons take, so how can such a judge be impartial?  Even if the judge tried to be impartial, non-Freemasons will perceive that he will be partial.  Public perception is all-important.

There are more than 3,000 pages in the transcript of the Cullen Inquiry.  Three people who gave evidence mentioned QUEEN VICTORIA BOARDING SCHOOL.  Thomas Hamilton had access to the gun club in that school, where he also got a job for a teacher.  He had a van from Central Regional Council to use for transporting children at the Queen Victoria School.  However, there was not one mention of Queen Victoria School in Cullen's Report.  I have the transcript of the pages that it appears in.  Ian Steven Boal was referred to on page 1803. LINK  He was a teacher at Queen Victoria School; Thomas Hamilton got him the job.  On page 286, Grace Jones Ogilvie, a neighbour, said that Thomas Hamilton used to get a van from Central Region for camps at Loch Lomondside and Queen Victoria School. LINK  Robert Mark Ure, an ex-husband of a friend of Thomas Hamilton, said [Ed ~ at page 2,266, on Day 18.] that his estranged wife had been to the rifle range at Queen Victoria School with Thomas Hamilton. LINK   Thomas Hamilton had all that access to Queen Victoria School, but there was not one mention of the school in Lord Cullen's Report.  A schoolmaster, Glenn Harrison, wanted to give evidence at the Inquiry. LINK  This is ultra important in calling for a rerun.  He saw—

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: I am trying to get—

William Burns William Burns:  He saw high profile people coming into the school. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: I fully appreciate that you want your statements to be factually accurate—

William Burns William Burns:  They took children away for the weekend. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: What I am asking about is the relevance of the information to the petition and where it is taking us. [Ed ~ Why did McMahon divert the discourse from this crucial evidence?]

Sandra White MSPSandra White: Dunblane was a terrible tragedy.  Nobody wants anything like that to happen again.  My concern about the decision at the time — it did not arise just from the petition — related to the 100-year rule.  I do not want to indicate to the petitioner that any decision that the Committee makes may lead to a witch hunt of people who he may have named or who may not have been named, but I am concerned about the 100-year rule.

This may be a hurtful question to Mr Burns, but it has to be answered.  Is the reason that you have brought the petition to the committee to get to the truth of what happened at Dunblane, or is it a witch hunt of people who are members of a Freemasonry lodge? LINK   I am concerned by some of the language that you use.  I am not a member of any such organisation, but I do not think that we should carry out a witch hunt of people who are members of a union or any other organisation.  I want a simple yes or no answer.  Have you brought the petition to the Committee to get to the truth and to prevent another Dunblane or to have a witch hunt of people who are members of secular societies, the Freemasons or whatever?
[Ed ~ I had already clearly clarified in my written submissions to the Committee that there was no witch hunt - in these selfsame terms - so why was Sandra White trying to put on the record that the the opposite might have been the case? LINK]

William Burns William Burns:  It is about the truth.  It is not so much to get to the truth as to get the truth made public.

Sandra White MSP Sandra White: So it is the 100-year rule that you have the problem with and you are looking for a new inquiry. LINK

William Burns William Burns:  Obviously I want the 100-year rule to be removed because that explains a lot on its own, but I want the truth revealed about what happened in Dunblane.   What is worse than the murders themselves is the cover-up after they took place.  That is even worse because they could happen again and again.

Sandra White MSP Sandra White:  Are you saying that the evidence that came out in the Cullen Inquiry is untrue?

William Burns William Burns:  The truth was smothered!  Not only was a gagging order put on the files, but a gagging order was put on witnesses.  Glenn Harrison, a schoolmaster at Queen Victoria School, wanted to give evidence.  He had been claiming for years that children were getting abused. LINK  He ended up getting moved away out.  He is now living on an island away up in the north of Scotland — he got taken right out.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:  I am trying to keep the discussion focused on what the petition is asking for.

Sandra White MSP Sandra White: I am trying to focus on that.  There are three recommendations that Mr Burns asks for.   There’s a new inquiry and the 100-year ruling as well.  I am trying to establish whether a new inquiry would satisfy what he wants. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:  There is also the question of whether we can ask for such an inquiry.

William Burns William Burns:  We need a new open and honest inquiry.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: Do members have any points or do they want to make recommendations on where we take this petition?

Helen Eadie MSP Helen Eadie: Perhaps we could write to the Lord Advocate to ask him to give an indication of the time scale for the publication of the catalogue that Jackie Baillie mentioned on the Cullen Inquiry material and to inform us of any subsequent decisions on the release of material or any variations to the closure period.  If we had that information from the Lord Advocate, then I think I would be happy with that as a way forward to help this petition.

Mike Watson MSPMike Watson: There is an issue to do with the 100-year rule, although I am not sure whether we would get all that much further forward if we asked for it to be rescinded, because I understand that the normal rule in such a situation is 75 years.  That would still not serve anybody who is currently in the room.
[Ed ~ Mike Watson is totally wrong!  There is NO statutory basis for closure orders of any description in Scotland.  Not 100 years, not 75 years, not even one year.  In England and Wales there are statutory instruments for imposing closure orders.  A closure order might be imposed, for example, for 50 years after a major war when it is deemed to be in the national interest.]

I think it might be useful to get some answers to the points that Mr Burns has made.  We have been told that the 100-year rule was brought in to protect the children and the children's children ultimately.  Although that argument may have some resonance, Mr Burns has made the point that some of the information that is retained has nothing to do with children and does not mention them.  That particular point should be queried.  Whether the Lord Advocate is the appropriate person to ask or not, I think we should be asking that question. LINK

I was not happy that Sandra White equated being a member of a trade union - which everyone at work should be - with being a member of the Freemasons.

I was a bit concerned about one of the comments that Mr Burns made in his opening statement.  He felt that the Freemasons were harbouring paedophiles, which is an extremely serious allegation to make.  I am prepared to believe that it is likely that Freemasons would help one another to get jobs or promotions, but I have difficulty in getting my head round the idea that senior law officers, for example, would harbour paedophiles, who are among the most abhorred members of society. LINK  Unless Mr Burns has firmer evidence, that sort of allegation does not serve his case, but weakens it.  The allegation that senior law officers would hide paedophiles simply because they were members of the Masons or a similar organisation is so serious that very few ordinary people in the street would believe it. LINK   I do not want to sound patronising, but I do not believe that that allegation helps his case.

William Burns William Burns:  That point needs to be answered right away.  I have friends who are Freemasons.  I am talking about high-profile people — law lords and politicians — who are paedophiles and are being covered up. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   Mr Burns, you are again making allegations which, unless you substantiate them—

William Burns William Burns:  If there were another inquiry, that would all come out and my allegations would be proved to be true. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   If you have evidence of that, you should not be talking to the Public Petitions Committee; you should be referring it to the police. LINK  To make such statements—

William Burns William Burns :  Glenn Harrison, who was a schoolmaster— LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   I counsel you not to use people's names unless you can back up your allegations with evidence. LINK  We are getting on to very dangerous ground.  I am trying to be helpful to you. [Ed ~ He was not trying to be helpful, he was stymying my petition.]

William Burns William Burns:  I will drop that for the moment.  I know that Lord Cullen became Lord President, but his boss at the time - Lord Ross, the Lord Justice-Clerk - was on the board of directors of Queen Victoria Boarding School LINK, as was Michael Forsyth. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:  I fail to see how that is relevant. You are answering Mike Watson's point.

William Burns William Burns:  Lord Ross is a member of the Speculative Society. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   I do not think that we need to have a roll call of who are members of what organisations.  I do not see how that serves your petition in any way.

William Burns William Burns:  I am answering Mr Watson here.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   I fail to see how your line of argument does that.

William Burns William Burns: Mr Watson said that he could not believe that Freemasons would protect paedophiles.   I know a prominent Freemason whom members of the Committee will probably all have met.  He stands outside on the first Wednesday of every month.  He backs the exposure of any Freemason who is the subject of the kind of allegations that I am making.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   I am asking you to be very careful.  You are making allegations about a connection between an organisation and paedophilia.  I am asking you not to go down that route.  You are using people's names and accusing them—   [Ed ~ Why was McMahon advising/warning me not to go down that route?]

William Burns William Burns:  I am talking about high-profile Freemasons, as opposed to Freemasonry as a whole.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: Mike Watson made the point that it does not help for you to go on in the way in which you have done.

William Burns William Burns:  I think that I am helping the cause to get a rerun of the inquiry.

Michael McMahon MSPConvener Michael McMahon:   We will have some more questions.

Carolyn Leckie MSP Carolyn Leckie:  Such suspicions are inevitable when a gagging order is placed on evidence.  There are legitimate questions to be asked about why certain evidence has not yet been put into the public domain if the reason for that - to protect children - has not been substantiated.   Whether or not the suspicions are true, their existence is inevitable.

I also think that there is enough concern in society about organised child abuse for legitimate questions to be asked.  I am certainly of the view that people who abuse children exist in every layer of society.  When there is secrecy, there is bound to be suspicion.  The specific recommendations before us talk about the wider implications of the ability to have a 100-year rule, and I do think that one of the Justice Committees should look at that and we should pursue this further.  I am quite happy if the committee wishes to write to the Lord Advocate as well, and perhaps if we are in a position to exert some pressure to get answers to some questions or get some evidence from the Cullen Inquiry that has not yet been put in the public domain, then there would maybe then be information and evidence that would support the demand for another inquiry.  But, logically, getting to the bottom of what exists as a result of the original Inquiry comes first.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:  The difficulty is that the petition does not ask for that.   That is not to say that we cannot—

William Burns William Burns :  I am asking now!

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:: We have to be careful about how petitions are dealt with.  If we consider a petition, we have to know what its aim is.  The aim of petition PE652 gives us a couple of options.  It has been suggested that we take the matter up with the Lord Advocate.  That does not—

William Burns William Burns:  The Lord Advocate has nothing to do with it!

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   Mr Burns, excuse me.
Carolyn, the recommendation is that questions be asked of the Lord Advocate.    Responses will come back, which will allow us to decide what further action we want to take on the petition.  However, to agree to write to the Lord Advocate seeking an indication of the time scale for the publication of the full catalogue is a starting point for taking the petition further before we ask anybody else to consider the petition.

William Burns William Burns:  The embargo is illegal.  The Lord Advocate has nothing to do with it. LINK

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:  Mr Burns, I am sorry.  We are trying to agree to some recommendations to act on the petition.

William Burns William Burns:  There is no power to impose the 100-year closure rule!
[Ed ~ Despite the Freedom of Information Act that came into force on 1st January 2005, the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd still illegally refused to release the closed files.  He finally released half of them on 3 October 2005, on orders from the Scottish Executive, but in a much redacted almost illegible form.]

Helen Eadie MSPHelen Eadie:  Convener, you have summed up the views of other Committee Members.  I would happily endorse your recommendation.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   Do members agree?

Mike Watson MSP Mike Watson:  Does that mean that we are delaying the question about the 100-year rule?

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   No, we are asking about it.  We are asking for a time scale.

William Burns William Burns:  That will take another 100 years!

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon: If the Lord Advocate replies on the time scale for announcing publication of the full catalogue, we can ask for more information on the 100-year rule and its use. That would be a legitimate part of pursuing the petition.  Does the Committee agree?

Members indicated agreement.

Michael McMahon MSP Convener Michael McMahon:   Thank you very much for attending, Mr Burns.

[End of hearing]

[Ed ~ The Committee agreed to write to the Lord Advocate seeking, (a) further details of the framework under which a decision to impose a closure order of 100 years can be made, (b) confirmation as to why certain evidence that does not name specific children also appears to be subject to this 100-year closure order, and (c) an indication of the timescales for publication of the full catalogue of Cullen Inquiry material by the National Archives of Scotland and for any subsequent decisions on the release of material and variations of the closure period.

Three days after the hearing, I wrote to the Public Petitions Committee, illustrating my displeasure at them taking the futile step of writing to the Lord Advocate.

A response I would later receive from the Crown Office on behalf of the Lord Advocate, dated 28 June 2004, said: “Although your correspondence with Lord Cullen does not refer to children the decision was taken not to release any material until it had been catalogued by officials at the National Archives of Scotland.”

The Deputy Keeper of Rolls at the National Archives of Scotland sent me a letter dated 4 March 2004 in which a description was placed on every individual letter between the Cullen Inquiry and me.  The National Archives of Scotland had no problem whatsoever locating that particular file, COM21/4/105/1 and letting it be known that my correspondence had been “yoked” together with Thomas Hamilton material filed at COM21/4/105/2.  When I wrote asking the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, why he had such great difficulty locating these files when the National Archives of Scotland found it a simple task, all the embargoed files were removed from the National Archives of Scotland and taken to the Crown Office.

Unfortunately, despite the plethora of supportive evidence with which I provided the Public Petitions Committee, they seemed to have neither the inclination nor the courage to properly address this important petition, and none of the six remedies sought in the requests I made were addressed. LINK  My petition PE652 was "buried", just as though it never existed.  At the "discussion" about a subsequent petition I had submitted (PE685), the Committee "settled" the issue by declaring in public documents: "The Committee considered petitions PE652 alongside new petition PE685.  The Committee agreed to write again to the Lord Advocate seeking further information in relation to petition PE685 and to take no further action on petition PE652. LINK

By burying PE652, the original petition, the Public Petitions Committee were able to only consider whether or not the 100-year closure order should be reversed, and ignore the principal reason PE652 was submitted in the first place; calling for a renewed Dunblane Inquiry with no restrictive remit.  Shame on them!

Curiously, by the time the decision was taken to bury PE652, articles in the News of the World on Glenn Harrison, the former QVS housemaster LINK, and Lord Burton, the former Grand Master of Scottish Masons LINK, had long since corroborated what I told the Committee at the hearing of my petition on 29 October 2003 – but to no avail, despite the fact I drew the attention of the Committee to the articles before they made their decision.  The Glenn Harrison article was in the 9 November 2003 edition and the Lord Burton article appeared in the 28 December 2003 edition.

Dr Mick North, a retired university lecturer, whose daughter Sophie was murdered in the 1996 massacre, branded Lord Cullen’s Inquiry “a piece of theatre” in an article in the Daily Mail on 10 March 2004. LINK

Joining the growing number of people campaigning to overturn Lord Cullen’s 100-year closure order is Lord (Norman) Tebbit, the former Home Secretary who told the Scotland on Sunday (17 October 2004), “It’s fairly clear that many people think the ‘sensitive’ material is sensitive not to the children of Dunblane, or their relatives, but to other people who perhaps knew more about Hamilton than they have so far admitted.” LINK

Carolyn Leckie MSP resigned from the Committee and filed a motion in the Scottish Parliament to the effect that she believes, inter alia, that the Cullen Inquiry bears the hallmarks of a cover-up, and calls for a new inquiry, without a restrictive remit, to be set up without delay. LINK  Although around half of the files were eventually released on Monday, 3 October 2005, they were redacted to such an extent they were largely illegible.  No moves have yet been made to conduct a new Inquiry without a restrictive remit and my principal petition, PE652, was buried without consideration. LINK]

To view the petitioner's correspondence with the
Cullen Inquiry, gagged by Lord Cullen's 100-year
closure order, click the red button.

Beware Authority
Dunblane Whitewash
Dunblane City Sign
Scotland Map


Dunblane Public Inquiry
Dunblane Massacre
Read the full list in the Dunblane Whitewash catalogue. LINK
Dunblane Angels
St Blane's Church Dunblane
The stained glass window in St Blane's Church, Dunblane, which commemorates the victims of the 1996 massacre.
List of the victims of the Dunblane massacre
Victoria Clydesdale
Mhairi MacBeath
Charlotte Dunn
Melissa Currie
Emma Crozier
Kevin Hassell
Ross Irvine
David Kerr
Gwen Hodson/Mayor - schoolteacher
John Petrie
Hanna Scott
Joanna Ross
Sophie North
Emily Morton
Maegan Turner
Brett McKinnon
Abigail McLennan
We know who killed the above victims, but, although we may not care, we do not know for sure who killed Thomas Hamilton, and why that person was carrying a revolver at the time!
Why did Lord Cullen try to bury William Burns' letters to him for 100 years? LINK
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