Slain girl's mother hails defamation law move

The Scottish Government is to consult on proposals that would protect the reputation of people after they have died.

The consultation, to start before the end of the year, will look at overturning the legal principle that defamation cannot apply to people who are no longer alive.

Ministers said they would not make any decision until the exercise had been completed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The move reportedly follows a long-running campaign by the parents of schoolgirl Diane Watson, 16, who was stabbed to death 20 years ago after a playground row at her Glasgow school.

Margaret and James Watson's only other child, 16-year-old Alan, later took his life after reading an article that alleged his sister was a bully, it was reported.

Mrs Watson has welcomed the consultation plan.

She said: "This is a welcome development, although I'm disappointed the consultation is only in Scotland. We hoped the UK government would also come on board.

"I hope this law is passed because it will finally put an end to articles being published about murder victims that are dishonest and malicious."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish Government remains committed to launching a consultation on the defamation of the deceased, including homicide victims, and we expect to launch the consultation paper before the end of 2010.

"These are important and sensitive issues, involving a careful balancing of fundamental rights, and we are determined to take every care to ensure that they are addressed appropriately.

"Scottish ministers will examine the consultation responses carefully before issuing their response to it."