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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 08:12 GMT
Father's plea over Dunblane papers
Floral tribute
Floral tribute after Dunblane tragedy
The father of a child killed in the Dunblane tragedy has called for police information on the killer to be made public.

Scotland's most senior law officer has been urged to explain why documents on Thomas Hamilton were banned from publication for 100 years.

The Crown Office denied that they have been suppressed because they revealed links between the killer and a number of prominent Scots.

Charlie Clydesdale, whose daughter Victoria was killed, said an explanation should be given.

Charlie Clydesdale
I would really like to see what was in it

Charlie Clydesdale

And Scottish National Party MSP Michael Matheson wants the ban reconsidered in light of the new freedom of information legislation.

Forty-three-year-old 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.

'Draconian act'

In addition to those killed, he injured 12 other children and two teachers before killing himself.

Mr Clydesdale questioned the length of the ban and described his family's frustrations.

He said: "I'm not going to be around and my children aren't going to be around.

"I would really like to see what was in it, but I'm surprised there was one and shocked there was such a length of time put on it."

Michael Matheson MSP
Michael Matheson: "Secrecy order"

Mr Matheson said he has sought clarification from the Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC.

The MSP told BBC Scotland: "I think it's surprising that in this day and age we find ourselves with 100-year secrecy order being applied to a police report.

"Keeping in mind that Cabinet papers are only classified for 30 years, I want to find out what the legal status of this act is.

"And find out why such a draconian act has been carried out."

The Crown Office dismissed allegations that information about Hamilton was being kept secret because it contained information about senior political figures in Scotland.

'Avoid causing distress'

It said that some documents deemed sensitive were kept under a "75 year closure".

However, the Scottish Office, the Crown Office and Lord Cullen, who led the inquiry into the Dunblane shootings, agreed that some information should be kept for 100 years.

"This was to ensure that information would not be made public during the lifetime of any of the children (or their siblings) identified in the documents," said a Crown Office spokesman.

"There is no question of this action being taken to protect the identities or involvement of any public figures - the decision was made simply to protect the identities of the children involved, and to avoid causing them distress throughout their lives.

"The new Freedom of Information legislation is not relevant in this context," the spokesman added.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Kate Fawcett reports
"There is pressure for an explanation"
See also:

09 Feb 03 | Scotland
14 May 00 | Scotland
21 Apr 99 | UK
21 Apr 99 | Education
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