“Full statements have been requested from a number of individuals..” – Solicitor-General

As Chris Thornton in the Belfast Telegraph points out, the NIO are refusing to confirm that the Secretary of State for Wales etc, Peter Hain, was the recipient of the questionaires sent out by the Attorney-General’s appointed inquirer, Peter Scott QC – “Queries about how the review is proceeding should be directed to the review.” But, as well as the review declining to take media inquiries, given the detail of the 67 questions set by Mr Justice Girvan for the inquiry it would be pointless not to ask him.. if there is to be any justice, that is..The parliamentary question the review did answer was

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will make a statement on the progress of the inquiry by Peter Scott QC into criticisms made of the Northern Ireland Office by Mr. Justice Girvan; and what the expected timescale is of the inquiry. [116945]

The Solicitor-General: There is a large amount of documentation for Mr. Scott to consider in the course of his review. To date he has received 13 lever arch files of material and is expecting a further 18 within days. Additional material has been requested by him.

Full statements have been requested from a number of individuals in response to detailed questionnaires prepared by the review team. The witnesses were given four weeks to provide replies and these are now expected in early February. By that time Mr. Scott expects to be in possession of all the documentation and witness statements from others, if oral evidence is required—either to provide further information or for clarification—he expects such hearings to be held no later than fours weeks after the date of the last witness statement requested. Subject to any further steps that he may decide to be necessary at that stage, he will report to the Attorney-General as soon as possible thereafter.

Also noted in the report

The questionnaires are likely to be based on 67 questions that Lord Justice Girvan posed in his second judgment in the case last November. He referred the matter to the Attorney General at that stage after the Government ignored his previous call for an inquiry. Mr Hain has said he intends to appeal the ruling.

Meanwhile, Mr Scott is understood to be out of the UK at the moment and will return in early February. The individuals who have been given questionnaires are expected to have submitted their statements by then.

Something to look forward to then..