Limbs in the Loch killer loses another legal battle in bid to clear name

William Beggs hoped Scotland's highest court would help him secure evidence he claims will clear him of murder.

Limbs in the Loch killer William Beggs loses legal battle in bid to clear name of murdering Barry Wallace STV News

Limbs in the Loch killer William Beggs has lost another legal battle to secure evidence which he claims will clear him of murdering Barry Wallace. 

The 59-year-old instructed lawyers to go to the Inner House of Court of Session in Edinburgh. 

He hoped judges sitting in Scotland’s highest civil court would overturn a decision made in June 2021 by the Scottish Information Commissioner Daren Fitzhenry .

Beggs disagreed with Mr Fitzhenry’s decision to uphold Police Scotland’s refusal to hand over CCTV camera footage which had been captured in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, on the night Mr Wallace died.

He also wanted information about police investigations into the murder which arose from statements given to detectives during the probe. Beggs believed this would show that he was a victim of miscarriage of justice.

A written judgement published by the court on Friday, tells of how Beggs first made the request in 2010 by relying on Freedom of Information legislation. 

The police refused to disclose the information which was being sought by Beggs – and the information commissioner upheld the decision in 2011. 

This prompted a number of legal challenges against the decision which were refused. 

In 2018, he submitted a second request to Police Scotland for the information which was again refused. 

This prompted him to appeal to the Information Commissioner saying that the police didn’t adhere to legislation on the matter. 

The Scottish Information Commissioner upheld the police decision which prompted the latest appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session. 

His legal team told the Inner House that Mr Fitzhenry had made mistakes in interpreting freedom of information legislation when considering Beggs’s request. 

However, in the judgement published on Friday,  judge Lord Malcolm said the information commissioner had acted correctly when assessing Beggs’s request. 

Lord Malcolm, who sat with colleagues Lord Tyre and Lord Doherty, wrote: “In our view it is manifest that the Commissioner approached his task in a thorough and conscientious manner. 

“He viewed the requested material. He obtained the parties’ submissions on the public interest test and carefully addressed them. 

“He applied the statutory scheme in a clear and coherent way.

“We agree with the submission that the appeal amounts to little more than a disagreement with the Commissioner’s decision. It is not our function to review its merits. 

“The weight to be attached to the competing factors was a matter for the Commissioner. 

“The court can interfere only if there has been an error of law, and none has been demonstrated. 

“The reasoning is full and clear. We have detected no error of law on his part.”

Beggs is serving life for murdering and dismembering the teenage supermarket worker who disappeared after a staff Christmas party in December 1999.

His dismembered body was found, by chance, during a training exercise by police divers in Loch Lomond.

Mr Wallace’s head was washed up on a beach near Troon, after Beggs smuggled it on to a ferry and threw it overboard.

He was jailed for life.

Since being jailed he unsuccessfully fought a lengthy appeal and has raised a variety of legal actions.

In his latest hearing, his lawyers wanted the court to overturn Mr Fitzhenry’s decision. 

However, the court refused in to rule in favour of Beggs. 

In the written judgement, Lord Malcolm wrote: “For the above reasons the appeal against the Commissioner’s decision is refused.”

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