HC Deb 01 May 1996 vol 276 cc1138-9
9. Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will make his decision regarding a review of the Thomas Campbell and Joseph Steele case. [26058]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Once consideration of this case is completed, a decision will be announced.

Mr. Wray

Does the Minister agree that, under section 124 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act, due to come into force on 1 April 1996, the Secretary of State for Scotland will be allowed to refer this case? The families of Thomas Campbell and Joseph Steele think it unjust that a conviction was obtained on the basis of evidence from a perjurer who was known by the procurator fiscal and by a Queen's counsel to be lying.

A fortnight before the trial of the Doyle murderers, he had stated that he was living with his sister and never left the house between Friday and Sunday. A fortnight later, he gave evidence to the effect that he heard the relevant conversation. He is now saying that he conspired with the police—

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman should ask a question.

Mr. Wray

The man is now saying that he conspired with the police and the procurator fiscal.

We want justice for this family. Will the Secretary of State bring section 124 of the Act into operation?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Some of the petitions received raise difficult and complex issues of law and judgment, requiring careful and detailed consideration. This may involve interviewing witnesses and commissioning expert reports. Most petitions are dealt with quickly; in some cases, it takes a considerable time to complete the detailed examination which the matters raised in the petition require. I can, however, give an undertaking that these matters will be looked at thoroughly and rigorously.

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