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COPFS

Cost of case (28/07/2016) (R013349)

Information redacted under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA

Thank you for your request dated 1 June 2016 under the Freedom of information (S) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information regarding costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of case ************.  I am sorry for the delay in providing a full response to you.  It was necessary to carry out some further enquiries and these have only now been completed.


I have addressed each individual item requested by you in the order in which you requested them as follows:


The Police Investigation/Preparation of case for Court proceedings



1.   The detailed cost of the entire Police Investigation:



This information is not held by COPFS and is therefore exempt under Section 17(1) of FOISA. This information may be held by Police Scotland.


2.   The detailed cost of all work carried out by ************, Forensic Pathologist on behalf of COPFS:


This information is not held by COPFS and is therefore exempt under Section 17(1) of FOISA.  To further explain COPFS have contracts in place for the provision of post mortem services with the University of Aberdeen and are not invoiced for individual post mortems. 



3.   The cost of all work carried out by the Forensic Scientists on behalf of COPFS:



While we do hold some information in relation to forensic costs (see below) the cost of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper limit of £600. Under Section 12(1) of FOISA Public authorities are not required to  comply with a request for information if it is estimated that the cost of complying would exceed a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600 by regulations made under Section12.


I can however advise that COPFS have one invoice for £1723.20 relating to a forensic expert in this case.  However, the other forensic experts did not invoice COPFS personally and therefore it would require each invoice relating to forensic evidence for the two years of 2012-13 and 2013-14 to be examined.  This would involve locating each of the invoices from the thousands of payments by the Finance Department for each of these years. Once located the invoice would need to be checked against the list of forensic experts in the relevant case and if the names matched then we would need to establish if the invoice related to the actual case itself.  I consider that to complete this task would take more than the £600 limit required under  FOISA.


4.   The detailed cost of all work carried out by the Computer analysis experts on behalf of COPFS:


This information is not held by COPFS and is therefore exempt under Section 17(1) of FOISA.

Please note that the computer analysis experts were employed by the legacy force Grampian Police. Police Scotland may be able to give you the detailed cost of this work.

 

 

The Court Case

1.   The detailed cost of the entire court proceedings:

This information is not held by COPFS and is therefore exempt under Section 17(1) of FOISA.

I can advise that COPFS does not routinely collate the total cost involved in prosecuting a case at court.


2.   The detailed costs incurred in summoning *********, Forensic Pathologist to court for trial:

3.   The detailed costs incurred in summoning Forensic Scientists to court for trial:


This information is exempt under Section 12(1) of FOISA. COPFS are not obliged to comply with a request for information if it is estimated that cost of complying would exceed a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600.


As explained above COPFS have not been invoiced directly by ********** or other Forensic Scientists (which the exception of the £1723.20 for one forensic expert) and to locate and check all invoices for the two year period would exceed the £600 limit.


4.   The detailed costs incurred in summoning Computer Analysis Experts to court for trial:


This information is not held by COPFS and is therefore exempt under Section 17(1) of FOISA.

These witnesses  were employed by Grampian Police and Police Scotland may be able to advise of any costs associated with attending court for trial.


5.   The detailed costs incurred in summoning all civilian witnesses to court for trial:

This information is exempt under Section 12(1) of FOISA. COPFS are not obliged to comply with a request for information if it is estimated that cost of complying would exceed a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600.

I can advise that three civilian witnesses received witness expenses totalling £477.46.  Before the last financial year our witness database and finance records did not record expenditure by case reference number.  A physical search of the records did identify the payments to the three civilian witnesses but such a search is not straightforward.  Some witnesses may not seek any reimbursement of their expenses from COPFS, some may have had funds paid into a relative’s bank account, and others may have had travel arranged by the local PF office.  In order to locate full witness costs it would require COPFS staff to manually examine all witness claims made in the period of the trial and for a further three to six months (as some witnesses may not make a claim immediately after the date they give evidence in court).  As COPFS process thousands of witness citations each month it is estimated that to examine each relevant citation manually would take over two weeks of staff time.  Indeed it has taken around two days for a member of staff to obtain the limited information concerning the three civilian witnesses which has been provided to you.  Therefore I consider that to examine all relevant citations to provide the information you seek would exceed the limit of £600.


6.   The detailed costs incurred in summoning all police witnesses to court for trial:


This information is not held by COPFS and is therefore exempt under Section 17(1) of FOISA.

I can advise that Police witnesses do not seek reimbursement from COPFS for attending court as a witness.  Any costs incurred are met by the force which at the time would have been Grampian Poloce but any records may now be held by Police Scotland.