"On 23 February 2012 Christine Grahame MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee wrote to Kenneth Clarke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice about the data protection concerns that had been raised before her committee (inter alios by the Scottish Government). In a reply dated 20 March 2012 Kenneth Clarke says the following:
“The central issue in your letter is whether a condition exists under Schedule 3 to the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) which could provide for disclosure of sensitive personal data by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in the case of Abdelbaset al Megrahi. My officials have considered the matter in detail with the SCCRC, the Scottish Government and the Information Commissioner’s Office. Following these discussions, there is a general agreement that disclosure of sensitive personal data by the SCCRC could satisfy the existing Schedule 3 condition that provides for processing where it is necessary for the administration of justice. To that extent, the DPA does not appear to be a barrier to disclosure of this information by the SCCRC.""
And from our own letter:-
To: Mr Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner for the United Kingdom
"Our understanding of Data Protection legislation is that it protects an individual from unjustified exposure of his or her personal identifiers, or exposure outside the terms and conditions under which that data has been provided. In the case of the SCCRC’s findings, we consider that publication would be entirely justified on the grounds of public interest and natural justice.
We hope you would agree that the purpose of Data Protection legislation has never been, nor should it ever be, to protect an individual from exposure of failure of public duty under the law."
We take no pleasure in being proved correct on this important issue, for sadly, prevarications within the body politic of two nations have yet again produced further delays in the conclusion of this tragic case.