There has been considerable media coverage over the past few days of the Lord Advocate's decision to publish more than 3000 pages of witness statements, letters and reports that were originally prepared for the Cullen Inquiry into the Dunblane primary school shootings in 1996.

These documents were originally placed under a 100-year Closure Order but were subject to a review, conducted by Colin Boyd, which began in 2003. The documents were released for inspection at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh on Monday 3 October 2005. Files containing details of the victims, including photographs, medical reports and post-mortem reports, are still subject to the Closure Order.

Parents of some of the victims welcomed the move as "a good decision", saying it would remove the "remaining veils of secrecy" and help to dispel a number conspiracy theories raised after the incident. Mr Boyd said: "It is clear that there remains considerable public interest in the evidence that was provided to Lord Cullen's inquiry and I am pleased to announce that we have now completed the review of the papers subject to the 100-year Closure Order."

Some of the eye witness reports are very disturbing and the graphic nature of the descriptions brings home the full horror of the events that took place in the Dunblane primary school that day.

The Scotsman, in its editorial of 4 October 2005, welcomed the release of the documents, stating:
"In opening up the previously secretive corridors of government, the Freedom of Information Act has shone a light into those parts that previous "open government" initiatives failed to reach. In this more transparent age, the powers that be are even beginning to release confidential papers before they have to - a welcome development. A case in point is the decision by the Lord Advocate to publish documents from the Cullen Inquiry into the Dunblane shootings."

The editorial states that a number of errors were made by senior police officers and concludes:

"We need to ensure that modern police procedures are able to prevent similar mistakes. Document release can help in this. And on the broader issue of FoI, we need to guard against pressure to price it out of use and dull the light it shines."

The Cullen Inquiry (Public Inquiry into the Shootings at Dunblane Primary School - conducted by Lord Cullen, online version of the Inquiry published by the Stationery Office)

Chilling lesson of Dunblane (Scotsman editorial, only available online by subscription)