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Terrorism Legislation (R0122686)

Terrorism Legislation (R0122686)

Thank you for your request dated 17 March 2016 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:

“How many people were charged under terrorism legislation in 2015/16?

Where possible, please provide the age, gender, location and allegations against each individual.

How many of these cases led to court proceedings and how many did not reach court due to charges being dropped etc?

Provide the above information for the years 2005/6 to 2014/15.”

We do endeavour to provide information where possible and I have attached a table below showing the number of persons who were reported to the Procurator Fiscal under terrorism legislation in the years you have requested.  Please be aware that each individual may face one or more charges. 

I consider that to provide a further breakdown by age, gender, location and allegations against each individual could lead to the identification of the persons involved, accordingly, this further information is exempt from release under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA.  This information would be personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.  This is an absolute exemption and I am not required to apply the public interest test.

I did consider providing the information on the basis of age ranges and location or by age ranges alone, however, some of the numbers are small enough that it could still lead to the identification of the persons involved and for the reasons stated above, I am unable to itemise these totals further.

Regarding the second part of your request, I attach a table below which shows the decisions taken in respect of the charges reported to COPFS under terrorism legislation.  Please be aware that one or more charges may relate to the same accused.

Most of the headings on this table are self-explanatory, but it may assist if I explain the meaning of “Not a Separate Charge” and “Direct Measure”.

Not a Separate Charge - The total number of charges will also include charges where action was taken in relation to other charges reported in the case, for example, because the prosecutor took the view that an alternative charge was more appropriate or because details of the charge were included within the body of another charge for evidential reasons.    

Direct Measure - A direct measure is an alternative to prosecution.  Direct measures are used where the Procurator Fiscal considers it is in the public interest to take action, but where a criminal prosecution may not be the most appropriate course of action.