Mr Franck David Assistant Clerk Public Petitions Committee TG.01 The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP
___ Your ref: PE504 3 March 2010 Dear Franck CONSIDERATION OF PE504 Thank you for your letter of 11 February to John Curtis, relaying three questions from the Committee in relation to the petition lodged by Mr and Mrs Watson in respect of criminal memoirs and defamation of homicide victims. I am replying as Civil Law Division of the Justice Directorate has policy responsibility for the law on defamation. 1. Will the Scottish Government involve and send a copy of the defamation and homicide victims consultation paper to the petitioners? Yes. As I mentioned in my letter of 14 December 2009 to the Committees Clerk, Fergus Cochrane, the petitioners have already helpfully provided us with a range of information on which we are drawing in our preparatory work. I can confirm that we will certainly send a copy of the final consultation paper to the petitioners. 2. When will the Scottish Government notify the Committee when the consultation is launched? We will aim to notify the Committee Clerk and provide a copy of the consultation paper as soon as it is launched. 3. When will the Scottish Government submit a detailed response to the Committee outlining the conclusions that arise from the consultation and how and when these will be taken forward? As indicated in my previous letter, we are aiming to produce a report of the Scottish Governments conclusions within the course of 2010. As soon as that is available, we will aim to make it available to the Committee. The precise timings will depend in part on the number of respondents to the consultation and the issues raised.
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We acknowledge and have noted the Committees views on Criminal Memoirs. I hope this information is helpful to the Committee. Yours sincerely MRS ANNE HAMPSON