Freedom of Information: Domestic Aggravations
Thank you for your e-mail dated 9 August 2012 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following data:
"the number of cases dealt with by the courts in the Highlands and each court to include:
number of domestic abuse cases processed
case processing times
number of convictions
attrition rates and reasons for attrition
plea rates and timing"
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.
On 19 September, we discussed some of the challenges we faced in providing the level of detail you have requested and I agreed to extract similar information which would allow you to see most of the details you require. We agreed that the information would be provided for cases reported to COPFS in 2010-11 to ensure that most of the charges will have reached a verdict, and for this to include cases reported to the Procurators Fiscal at Dingwall, Dornoch, Fort William, Inverness, Portree, Tain and Wick.
It is essential that you are aware that the information on our database is extracted where the reporting agency have added a domestic aggravation marker on a charge reported. The difficulty that COPFS have is that we are aware that there are a number of charges where an aggravation is put on a charge by the reporting agency which is not accurate and does not relate to a domestic incident. Therefore it is necessary to treat this information and these numbers with that caveat.
It should also be highlighted that in cases where "no further action" is taken, this is most likely due to a change in circumstances from the original evidence that was produced. In cases where "no action" is taken, this can be for a variety of reasons and more often than not in these types of cases the most common reason is insufficiency of evidence.
The details of the numbers of charges with such an aggravation are shown in the tables annexed.