Christine Grahame (South of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will introduce a further statutory instrument amending the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (Permitted Disclosure of Information) Order 2009 to delete Article 2(b). (S3W-38294)
Mr Kenny MacAskill: The Scottish Government intends to bring forward legislation to allow the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to publish a statement of reasons in cases where an appeal is abandoned, subject of course to legal restrictions applying to the Commission such as data protection, the convention rights of individuals and international obligations attaching to information provided by foreign authorities. (11 January 2011)
[What Christine Grahame was seeking to discover was why the Scottish Government was proposing primary legislation (ie an Act of the Scottish Parliament) to remove the requirement in the 2009 Disclosure Order that the suppliers of information to the SCCRC had to consent to its release, when the requirement itself had been imposed by secondary legislation (ie a Statutory Instrument) and could be removed in precisely the same way. Kenny MacAskill signally fails to answer that question.
The reference in the written answer to convention rights and international obligations is entirely superfluous: such rights would continue to apply whether the consent requirement were removed by primary or secondary legislation. The reference to data protection is a complete red herring. Section 194K(4) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (an Act of the UK Parliament) specifically provides that where SCCRC disclosure is permitted by a Statutory Instrument (inter alia) "the disclosure of the information is not prevented by any obligation of secrecy or other limitation on disclosure (including any such obligation or limitation imposed by, under or by virtue of any enactment) ..." This means that UK data protection legislation, or any other legislative or common law obligation of secrecy, is no bar to disclosure. (The references in the 1995 Act to the Secretary of State and to the UK Parliament must now, by virtue of the general transfer of powers provisions of the Scotland Act 1998, be read as references to the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament respectively.)]