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COPFS

Offences under Official Secrets Act 1989 (R009438)

Freedom of Information: Offences under Official Secrets Act 1989 (R009438)

Thank you for your e-mail of 9 January 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:

1)    “Please disclose the number of cases handled by the COPFS concerning offences under the Official Secrets Act 1989 since the Act came into force until the latest available date. If you are unable to provide this range of data, due to availability, recording or other reasons, please indicate this and provide what data you are able to, identifying the start and end dates. If possible, for each case please identify:


(a) The section(s) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 at issue in the case.
(b) The final decision taken by the COPFS, i.e:
(i)   whether the case proceeded to trial,
(ii)  whether no further action was taken because of a lack of evidence,
(iii) whether no further action was taken on public interest ground”

2) “Please disclose any available guidance documents regarding the handling of cases concerning leaks of information by public officials”


I have considered each part of your request below.

1)   The information that you have requested has been provided at Annex A. All of the charges reported to COPFS relate to offences under section 4 of the Official Secrets Act 1989. The table provided goes up to 27 January 2015 but only goes as far back as 2010/11 as no charges were reported to COPFS under the relevant act before that year.

2)   COPFS do not hold any guidance documents specifically relating to how charges reported under the Official Secrets Act 1989 should be handled or how to handle case concerning leaks of information by public officials in general. As such, the information that you have requested is not held in terms of section 17 of FOISA.


Annex A
Number of charges reported to COPFS under the Official Secrets Act 1989 and the outcome of those reports

Outcome

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15 *

Total

Court Proceedings

2

0

0

0

1

3

No Action due to insufficient evidence

0

0

1

0

0

1

No Decision Yet

0

0

0

1

3

4

Total

2

0

1

1

4

8



* Up to 27 January 2015

NB/ All court proceedings taken resulted in a conviction