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COPFS

Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (R008062)

Freedom of Information: Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (R008062)
Thank you for your email dated 4 July 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the clarification you later provided.

Your original request was for the following information:

"Please can you tell me, in relation to each of the sexual offences against children contained within the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, and for each of the 3 years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, the total number of people proceeded against, and the outcome of court proceedings


PNGA or deserted

Acquitted Not Guilty

Acquitted Not Proven

Charge Proved"

I note from the email correspondence and telephone conversations between you and the Response and Information Unit that you were able to find much of the information your were looking for elsewhere and were content to restrict your request to COPFS to the following:

"The total number of people proceeded against in relation to s 52(A) of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act only, for 2012-13, and the outcome of court proceedings -

PNGA or deserted

Acquitted Not Guilty

Acquitted Not Proven

Charge Proved


We have now completed a search of our systems and I can advise as follows.

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 investigation and prosecution purposes. The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes. Due to the way the data is structured on our system, where we are asked to provide statistical information, we provide this by number of charges rather than number of reports. A case report may involve more than one charge.

I have attached a table containing the information requested by you at Annex A and hope this information is helpful to you. I have also provided an explanation of some of the figures within the table.

Annex A

Charges Reported under Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 Sec 52(A)

       
       
Action taken re Charge

Verdict

2012-13

 
Court

Pled Guilty

112

 


Found Guilty

10

 


Found Not Guilty

1

 


Found Not Proven

1

 


Withdrawn

1

 


Not Called

2

 


No Further Action

21

 


No Plea or Declaration

7

 


Accepted Not Guilty

66

 


Acquitted

2

 
Total



223

 
       

In cases involving indecent images of children, there are a number of charges under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 which may be libelled against an accused. These fall within section 52 of the Act. Section 52(1)(a) covers taking, permitting to be taken or making indecent photographs of children. Section 52(1)(b) covers distributing or showing indecent photographs of children to others. Section 52A covers possession of indecent images of children. In each case the Procurator Fiscal will consider all the available evidence to determine which charge or charges it is appropriate to place on the complaint or indictment and thereafter whether the accused’s actions are properly reflected by accepting a plea of guilty to one or more of the charges. The Procurator Fiscal will take into account when libelling charges and accepting pleas that the maximum sentence on indictment for a conviction under section 52(1)(a) and 52(1)(b) is 10 years, whereas the maximum for a conviction under section 52A is 5 years.

I can advise that in 65 of the cases above where a plea of not guilty has been accepted to a charge under section 52A, the accused has pled guilty to one or more other charges under section 52 in which the maximum sentence was 10 years.

In relation to the cases where no further action was taken on the charge of 52A, in 10 of these cases the accused pled guilty to another more serious charge under section 52 resulting in the maximum sentence available to the court being 10 years rather than 5 years.