Freedom of Information - Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act
Thank you for your e-mail of 11 December 2013 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:
"Prosecution information relating to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. Information of the following is requested:
1. Please provide the number of reports received by COPFS from 1 March 2012 until present for an offence:
a) Under section 1 of the Act and; b) Under section 6 of the Act
2. For each of the above, please provide figures for:
(a) Decision taken not to prosecute, (b) Decision taken to prosecute, (c) Alternative to prosecution offered, (d) If possible for (c) please provide a breakdown of figures of alternatives offered, (e) Decision not yet made, (f) Decision to prosecute under alternative charges/alternative legislation
3. Of cases where a decision taken to prosecute and to take court proceedings, please provide figures for:
(a) number proceeded in Justice of the Peace Court, (b) number proceeded in Sheriff Court (summary), (c) number proceeded in Sheriff Court (Solemn), (d) number proceeded in High Court
4. For each of 3(a),(b),(c) & (d) please provide number of prosecutions that have resulted in:
(a) a guilty verdict, (b) an acquittal
5. Of those where court proceedings taken, please provide figures for :
(a) Ongoing cases, (b) Concluded cases
6. Of those cases concluded, please provide figures for:
(a) Number resulting in no conviction, (b) No resulting in a conviction
7. Of those cases resulting in a conviction, please provide figures for:
(a) Number of cases where defendant pled guilty, (b) Number of cases where defendant proved guilty by the Crown following a not guilty plea
8. If possible, of the cases where a defendant pled guilty at 7(a), please provide information for which stage in proceedings the plea was lodged"
In relation to points 1 to 7 of your request, please find the requested information contained within the tables at Annex A below:
The information available in relation to your request dates from 1 March 2012 to 30 September 2013. Annex A therefore only relates to the relevant charges reported to COPFS between those dates. I hope that the information provided is sufficient for your purposes but if you do require the information requested for cases reported between 30 September 2013 and 11 December 2013 then we will, of course, be happy to consider a further request for that information.
With regard to point 8 of your request, you have asked if it is possible to provide you with the information requested.
It may assist to explain that COPFS uses a live operational case management system, specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage the cases for prosecution purposes. The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes.
While our case management system holds some information on the outcome of court appearances, it is not the purpose of our system. We are also not the official keepers of such information, rather, it is the Sheriff Clerks who hold a full record of the outcome of all court appearances. Consequently, it is not possible to conduct an electronic search of our case management system in order to collate the information that you have requested.
As you may already be aware, the Scottish Government have previously published statistics relating to charges reported under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 in 2012-13. I have attached a link below to the relevant part of the Scottish Government’s website for your convenience.