§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he made of the applicability of the Moorov doctrine for mounting a successful prosecution against Thomas Hamilton for sexual interference with male children. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
I am replying on behalf of my learned and noble Friend the Lord Advocate who is responsible for criminal prosecutions in Scotland. With a few minor exceptions, no person can be convicted of a crime or statutory offence in Scotland unless there is evidence of at least two witnesses implicating that person with the commission of the crime or offence with which he is charged. Where, however, the accused is charged with a serious of similar offences, closely linked in time, character and circumstances, in terms of the so-called Moorov doctrine the evidence of single witnesses as to particular offences can be treated as corroborating the evidence of each other. As is clear from paragraph 4.15 of Lord Cullen's report (Cm 3386), there was in fact very little evidence of any acts of indecency on the part of Thomas Hamilton. So far as can be established, no incident amounting to sexual interference with male children was reported to the police while Hamilton was alive. The Lord Advocate informs me that while Thomas Hamilton was alive, the criminal authorities were not in possession of evidence which would have justified a prosecution against Thomas Hamilton for sexual interference with male children.