Freedom of Information: Allegations of Criminality against Procurators Fiscal and Judiciary (R010540)
Thank you for your e-mail of 8 June 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in relation to allegations of criminality against COPFS. You seek the following information:
“(1) Please provide details of the number of allegations of criminality against Procurators Fiscal former Procurators Fiscal and members of the Judiciary. What the allegations were. What the disposals were, and how many are currently being investigated. Of those currently being investigated when were the complaints received, from which division of Police Scotland or station in Police Scotland or from the PIRC. Of those currently being investigated how many have the involvement of the Director of Serious Crime of their department.
(2) How many allegations of criminality received from Police Scotland and the PIRC currently being investigated are being directed by COPFS. How many requests for information have been received from Police Scotland for information from COPFS in relation to these and when were they made. Of these requests how many have been complied with and how many still await responses and from which department in COPFS.
Please provide the foregoing information broken down for the following and 2014 and 2015.”
You previously submitted a similar FOI request on 2 October 2014, where information was provided on 30 October 2014 for the years 2012-2014 relating to allegations of criminality against Procurators Fiscal.
Please find enclosed at Annex A an updated table to the information previously issued to you. As you will note, one additional matter from 2014 has been added. This matter was reported by the police after the submission of your original request on 2 October 2014 and related to an allegation under s.55(1)(a) the Data Protection Act 1998, which concerns the unlawful obtaining or disclosing of personal data. This was prosecuted in the Sheriff Court.
I also attach at Annex B the information requested in respect of allegations of criminality against members of the Judiciary for the years 2014 and 2015.
In 2014 there was one report of criminality which related to a contravention of section 99 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 of failing to update details on a driving licence, where no further action was taken. This decision was taken after a careful review of all the facts and circumstances along with the fact that a fixed penalty issued by the police for a related road traffic matter had been paid and points had been added to the accused’s licence for the related offence.
In 2015 there was one report of criminality which related to an allegation of assault to injury and was prosecuted in the Sheriff Court.
Please note for Annexes A and B I have included all cases reported to the Crown Office against Procurators Fiscal, Procurator Fiscal Deputes, trainee Procurator Fiscal Deputes and members of the Judiciary.
While we can supply information about cases reported to COPFS about current Procurators Fiscal, we would not necessarily know whether an accused was a former member of staff. The COPFS case management system does not accurately record whether or not such offences involve former staff members. Therefore, in order to identify how many of those offences reported to COPFS between 2014 and 2015 involved a former Procurator Fiscal, we would have to consider each individual case manually. Section 12(1) of FOISA does not oblige a Scottish public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request exceeds a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600. I consider that to conduct a manual search of all cases that include a charge under one of the requested common law offences or the specified statutory offences, for the years requested, would exceed the current limit in terms of section 12 (1) of FOISA.
In relation to the remainder of part (1) of your request and part (2), I can advise there are no further allegations against Procurator Fiscals, Procurator Fiscal Deputes, trainee Deputes or members of the Judiciary which have been reported to COPFS or remain under consideration by the Procurator Fiscal at present.
While I note your reference to the PIRC, the PIRC do not investigate allegations of criminality against staff of COPFS or members of the Judiciary. The PIRC is an independent body which carry out investigations relating the police and review police complaint handling.