§ Mr. Alex Carlile
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the identity of the assistant secretary in his Department referred to by Lord Donaldson, Master of the Rolls, in Findlay v. Secretary of State for Home Affairs as having sworn an affidavit, the tenor of which was described as untrue;
(2) whether any disciplinary action has been taken against the assistant secretary in the Home Department referred to by Lord Donaldson, Master of the Rolls, in Findlay v. Secretary of State for Home Affairs as having sworn an affidavit which was described as untrue.
§ Mr. Brittan
The affidavit in question was sworn by Mr. A. H. Turney, an assistant secretary in my Department, and was a true statement. It was sworn in the context of evidence already before the court that, as I had announced to Parliament in my statement of 30 November 1983, at columns 513–15, four life sentence prisoners had before that date been moved from open to closed prisons because their release in the relatively near future would not have accorded with my view of the gravity of their offences. It was intended not to qualify that evidence in any way, but to explain that a move to open prison, especially without a provisional release date, does not import any commitment to release a life sentence prisoner. I recognise that there may have been some ambiguity, which I regret, in the wording both of my statement and of the affidavit; but the matter was elucidated by counsel to the satisfaction of the court. No question of disciplinary action against Mr. Turney arises.