Freedom of Information: Criminal Proceedings – Perjury (R010130)
Thank you for your letter of 14 April 2015 which has been treated as a request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).
You seek the following information:
“HMA v. Andrew Coulson
Counsel has asked that we urgently obtain statistics in the following categories. Our preference would be for the information to cover the period from December 2010 to date but…if it would be easier to provide the statistics for annual periods broadly covering this period, that would suffice for our purposes.
- The number of convictions (on any charge) following trial in the High Court of Justiciary.
- The number of prosecutions for perjury arising from such proceedings
- The number of prosecutions for perjury of defence witnesses in such proceedings.
- The number of prosecutions for perjury, Mr Coulson apart, arising from Mr Sheridan’s conviction in December 2010.”
In relation to the first bullet point, I consider that this is information otherwise accessible and therefore exempt in terms of section 25 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. This is an absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest.
In my previous letter of 16 April 2015, however, I provided you with the link to a page of the Scottish Government website which provides data as to the number of people with a charged proved by type of court, including the High Court, found at Table 3.
I trust this is of assistance.
With regards the remainder of your request, I can advise the following, which relates to the period from December 2010 to 14 April 2015.
There have been 2 prosecutions for perjury arising from evidence given in High Court proceedings. Of the 2, one related to the evidence of a defence witness. In the other, no further action was subsequently taken by the Procurator Fiscal. Proceedings are discontinued for a number of reasons, the Procurator Fiscal having a continuing duty to review whether proceedings continue to be in the public interest throughout the life of a case.
During this time period there have been no further criminal proceedings raised for perjury, Mr Coulson apart, arising from Mr Sheridan’s conviction in December 2010.
Please note that these figures relate to the number of charges for the common law offence of perjury in criminal proceedings, and does not include perjury relating to a civil case or the separate offence of attempted subordination of perjury.
Please also note that these figures do not include charges where no action was taken by the Procurator Fiscal following initial report by the police.