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COPFS

Statistics – Bail in Murder, Possession of Knife, Culpable homicide cases

Freedom of information: Statistics – Bail in Murder, Possession of Knife, Culpable homicide cases

21 August 2013

Thank you for your request dated 23 July 2013, under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the following information:

"1. The number of people currently accused of murder in Scotland.

2. The number of these accused who are currently on bail.

3. The number of people currently accused of possession of a knife in Scotland.

4. The number of these accused currently on bail.

5. The number of people currently accused of culpable homicide in Scotland.

6. The number of these accused currently on bail."

There is a strong presumption on the part of the Crown in favour of opposing bail in murder cases. Exceptionally, for example where there are difficulties with sufficiency of evidence, the Crown may choose, after detailed consideration of all of the facts and circumstances by experienced Crown Counsel, not to oppose the accused's liberation on bail pending further enquiries. In all cases, the final decision as to whether to grant the accused bail lies with the court.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) uses a live, operational case management system. This system is specifically designed to receive reports of crimes and fatalities from the police and other specialist reporting agencies, and to manage the cases for prosecution and investigation purposes. The information on the system is held and structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes. Instead of the number of people accused of possession of a knife, or the number of those accused people admitted to bail, we have provided you with the number of charges for knife possession; that is, the number of charges where court proceedings have been commenced under the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 s47 for possession of a knife, machete or sword, and s49 (possession or an article with a blade or which is sharply pointed). Instead of the number of individual accused people admitted to bail on knife possession charges, we have provided you with the number of these charges in relation to which the accused was admitted to bail.

The data provided is a snapshot of the position at the given time. The custody or bail status of an accused can change during the lifetime of a case, and the status of any of the accused included in this data may have altered since the information was collated.

The information you have requested is provided in table format, at Annex A, with explanatory notes.

Annex A

Crime/Offence

Number of persons charged

Number of persons placed on bail by the Court for the  offence charged

Murder (Note: 1, 5)

45

9

Culpable Homicide (Note:1)

7

4

 

Crime/Offence

Number of charges

Number of charges in relation to which the accused was placed on bail

Possession of a knife (Note: 2, 3, 4)

1,443

1,085

 

Explanatory Notes

1. Based on the position at 7 August 2013
2. Based on the position at 31 July 2013
3. Based on the number of charges and not the number of persons charged
4. Based on charges where court proceedings have been commenced under the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 s47 for possession of a knife, machete or sword, and s49 (possession or an article with a blade or which is sharply pointed)
5. There are 33 cases with 45 accused persons