Freedom of Information: Domestic Abuse Charges – Aberdeen (R009323)
Thank you for your e-mail of 18 December 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:
1. How many charges which contained an element of domestic abuse were reported to the Procurator Fiscal at Aberdeen in each of the following periods 2011-2012; 2012-2013; 2013-14 and fall under the following categories?
- Section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licencing Act (Scotland) 2010
- Breach Of The Peace.
And what was the nationality of those individuals reported to the Procurator Fiscal at Aberdeen and what was the nationality of the alleged victim in each reported case.
And what action was subsequently taken, separated, where possible, by nationality, under each category in terms of:
- Solemn procedure
- Summary procedure
- Direct measures
- No action
- No decision
And how many prosecutions were successful / unsuccessful and how many prosecutions are still pending for each of the periods specified above, again, where possible, separated by nationality?
And of those prosecutions which were successful, how many went to trial and how many resulted in a guilty plea, again, where possible, separated by nationality and how many prosecutions which went to trial where the Crown consequently accepted a not guilty plea, again, where possible, separated by nationality?
2. And what where the costs, including but not limited to those sums paid to witnesses, for each prosecution, separated by category, either successful or unsuccessful and for those prosecutions which are still under way, what, by category, are the running total to date, again if possible by nationality and broken down for each by:
- Total / running costs to the Crown
- Total / running costs to the Police
- Total / running costs to the Court
3. How many charges were brought by the Procurator Fiscal at Aberdeen against witnesses, again where possible by nationality, where the prosecution within the above categories resulted in a ‘not guilty’ verdict and where the integrity and honesty of the witness was questions by the Sheriff and where evidence lead by either the defence or prosecution was capable of showing that witnesses lied under oath or made a false statement to the Police, resulting in the prosecution?
4. And how many unsuccessful prosecutions resulted in a claim for costs against the Crown and what were the total costs the crown paid the defendant following an unsuccessful prosecution?
5. And lastly, what are the current running costs, broken down by costs to the Crown, the Police and the Court specifically in the prosecution of P.F., Aberdeen v (redacted personal information). This request is subject to a Subject Access Request and therefore is to be dealt with as a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act and should be passed on to the data controller for a response”
I have considered each part of your request below.
1. 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.
Details of an accused’s or a victim’s nationality is not information that is recorded on the COPFS electronic case management system. As such, it is not possible to conduct a search of the electronic system for such information. To provide the information that you have requested broken down by nationality we would have to conduct a manual search of all relavant offences reported to COPFS to see if there is any reference to the accused or the victim’s nationality within the police report or other information provided. Section 1(1) of FOISA Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 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. We estimate that due to the volume of cases, checking all such cases to comply with this request would exceed the £600 threshold.
The information that you have requested has therefore been provided at Annex A, but has not been broken down by the nationality of either the accused or the complainer.
The information provided relates to all charges of breach of the peace and all charges under section 38 and section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licencing Act (Scotland) 2010, which contain a domestic abuse aggravation, that have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal’s Office in Aberdeen between 1 May 2011 and 30 April 2014.
2. The financial costs of individual cases are not recorded by COPFS. As such, the information that you have requested is not held in terms of section 17 of FOISA.
3. Whether or not witnesses in a particular case were subsequently prosecuted for perjury or making a false allegation to the police is not information that is recorded on the COPFS electronic case management system. As such, it is not possible to conduct a search of the electronic system for such information. To provide the information that you have requested we would have to conduct a manual search of all relevant offences reported to COPFS. We estimate that due to the volume of cases, checking all such cases to comply with this request would exceed the £600 threshold outlined within section 12(1) of FOISA.
4. In Scotland there is no mechanism, in law, for an accused person to claim for costs incurred during the course of criminal case, regardless of whether or not it results in a conviction.
5. As already outlined, the financial costs of individual cases are not recorded by COPFS. As such, no information is held in relation to the costs incurred in relation to the ongoing prosecution against you.