Freedom of Information: Correspondence with Greenock Telegraph (R010632)
Thank you for your e-mail of 15 June 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:
“I am requesting sight of the email sent to the Greenock Telegraph that outlines your position as to why the six month limit contained within the Act does not apply. This is purely a statement of your position and hold no other information that would be prejudicial to any other case that is ongoing at this point in time. I would also like sight of all other exchanges between the Crown Office and the Greenock Telegraph in relation to the issue at the Pet’s corner in Gourock. Each of these requests for documentation is being submitted under the Freedom of Information Act”
The content of an email dated 25 June 2015 from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Media Relations team to the Greenock Telegraph has been provided at Annex A.
In accordance with our obligations in terms of section 7(4) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the names of the individuals involved in this correspondence have been deleted as this amounts to their personal data.
The only other piece of correspondence held that falls within the terms of your request is the initial email from the journalist at the Greenock Telegraph to the COPFS Media Relations team dated 25 June 2015. However, I do not intend to provide this to you as I consider that this information is exempt from release in terms of section 38(1)(b) of FOISA as the content of the email amounts to the journalist’s personal data and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the DPA. This is an absolute exemption and there is no requirement to consider the public interest.
As discussed on the phone on Friday, the extract that you sent me does not apply to a section 19 AHW(S) Act offence of causing unnecessary suffering. It would only apply to an offence under that act for which no penalty is specified.
Our position is still as below.
"The Crown received a report in April 2013 for an incident that took place in June 2011 relating to an individual who had been charged under Section 19(1) of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
This statutory provision is subject to a six month time bar. This means that criminal proceedings must be raised within six months from the date of the offence.
Notwithstanding this, the Crown looked at whether a prosecution based on a common law charge could be brought. Unfortunately on the available evidence there was insufficient evidence in law to bring such a prosecution”