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COPFS

Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

5 November 2012

Freedom of Information Request: Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

Thank you for your e-mail dated 5 October 2012 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you requested the following information relating to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.


"(a) In each month since the Act came into force please provide the number of reports the COPFS received for an offence under (i) Section 1 and (ii) Section 6

(b) Of the reports received in relation to Section 1 please provide

 

(i) the number where a decision has been taken to prosecute

(ii) the number where a decision not to prosecute has been taken

(other than by way of an alternative to prosecution).

(iii) the number where an alternative to prosecution has been offered

(iv) the number of cases which have proceeded in the Justice of the Peace Court

(v) the number of cases which have proceeded in the Sherriff Court

(Summary)

(vi) the number of cases which have proceeded in the Sheriff Court

(Solemn)

the number of cases which have proceeded in the High Court

(vii) for each (iv)-(vi) please provide the number of prosecutions which have resulted in a guilty verdict and an acquittal



(c) Of the reports received in relation to Section 6 please provide:


(i) the number where a decision has been taken to prosecute

(ii) the number where a decision not to prosecute has been taken

(other than by way of an alternative to prosecution).

(iii) the number where an alternative to prosecution has been offered

(iv) the number of cases which have proceeded in the Justice of the

Peace Court

(v) the number of cases which have proceeded in the Sherriff Court

(Summary)

(vi) the number of cases which have proceeded in the Sheriff Court

(Solemn)

(the number of cases which have proceeded in the High Court

(vii) for each (iv)-(vi) please provide the number of prosecutions which have resulted in a guilty verdict and an acquittal



For clarity this request covers the period 1 March 2012 until 30 September 2012. Parts (b) and (c) of the request are only required as a figure for the whole period (i.e. the figures are not required to be broken down by month). If it is not possible to provide figures in part (a) by month then it would be acceptable for them to be provided as figures for the whole period."

It may assist to explain that Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (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.

The information you have requested is provided in the tables below.

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your request has been handled, you do have the right to ask us to review it. Your request should be made within 40 working days of receipt of this letter and we will reply within 20 working days of receipt. If you require a review of our decision to be carried out, please write to the Disclosure Section, Policy Division, Crown Office, 25 Chambers Street Edinburgh EH1 1LA or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The review will be undertaken by staff not involved in the original decision making process.

If our decision is unchanged following a review and you remain dissatisfied with this, please note that although generally under section 47(1) of FOISA there is a right of appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner, where the information requested is held by the Lord Advocate as head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths in Scotland, under section 48(c) no application can be made as respects a request for review made to the Lord Advocate. The information you have requested appears to fall into that category, although ultimately it would be for the Commissioner to decide whether that was the case should you refer the matter to him.

In circumstances where section 48(c) does not apply and the Commissioner accepts an appeal, should you subsequently wish to appeal against that decision, there is a right of appeal to the Court of Session on a point of law only.

Yours sincerely

FIONA ROBERTS

Table 1: Charges reported to COPFS under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

Month Reported

Section 1

Section 6

March 2012

39

4

April 2012

45

1

May 2012

47

1

June 2012

2

-

July 2012

5

2

August 2012

22

6

September 2012

28

1

Total

188

15



Table 2: Charges reported to COPFS under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 – Decisions taken

Decision

Section 1

Section 6

Court

137

4

of which

High Court

0

0

Sheriff Court – solemn

27

1

Sheriff Court – summary

110

2

Justice of the Peace

0

1

Charge not separately prosecuted*

3

3

Alternative to prosecution

10

2

No action

7

0

No decision yet

31

6

Total

188

15



*These charges were not separately prosecuted, but other charges for the same accused within the same case were. The charges that were prosecuted may have included details from the charges that were not prosecuted.






Table 3: Charges reported to COPFS under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 – Court outcomes



Outcome

Section 1

Section 6

Sheriff Court – solemn

Conviction

1

0

No Conviction

0

0

Ongoing

26

1

Sheriff Court – summary

Conviction

33

0

No Conviction

7

0

Ongoing

70

2

Justice of the Peace

Conviction

0

0

No Conviction

0

1

Ongoing

0

0

Total

137

4