Sunday 9 February 2003

09-Feb-03 - Dunblane report inquiry call

Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 16:17 GMT BBC NEWS
Dunblane report inquiry call

Scotland's most senior law officer is being urged to explain why a police report on the Dunblane massacre was allegedly banned from being published for 100 years.

An MSP called on Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC to comment on Sunday newspaper claims it was suppressed because it revealed links between Thomas Hamilton and a number of prominent Scots.

The SNP's Central Scotland MSP Michael Matheson wants the ban reconsidered in light of the new freedom of information legislation.
Lord Advocate - Colin Boyd

Lord Advocate Colin Boyd - to hear call for review

Forty-three-year-old Thomas Hamilton, broke into Dunblane primary school on 13 March 1996 and opened fire on a class in the gym, killing 16 children and a teacher. In addition to those killed, he injured 12 other children and two teachers before killing himself. Mr Matheson said he sought clarification from the Lord Advocate whether the report was classified to protect the identities of children Hamilton is alleged to have abused.

'Kept secret'
"There is also a suggestion that the report may be being kept secret in order to protect a couple of well-known individuals who had an association with Thomas Hamilton.
"The other question I'm raising is whether it's appropriate for this 100-year ruling to apply given that we have now moved to a system of freedom of information."

Mr Matheson said he would consult Scotland's future Freedom of Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion over the ban's legitimacy. He said: "It really is a question of whether it's appropriate that this kind of ruling should be being made given that we're meant to be in a free society."

The MSP would not comment on the identity of the people allegedly mentioned in the report. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said it was extremely unlikely that access would be given to anyone when the identification of child victims was at risk.

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