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COPFS

People liberated from Custody for Further Enquires – (R015574)

Thank you for your emails of 8 March and 28 March. You have requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

For the last three years of 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16:
  •  Cases where a person is liberated pending further enquiries and the case subsequently proceeds in court
  • Cases where a person is liberated pending further enquiries and proceedings are not subsequently taken in court
  • I used sheriff court in the original request because that is where the majority of cases first call but if information is avilable for ther levels.

 I should firstly explain that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of cases and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate statistical database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes.

It may assist to explain how COPFS approaches the liberation of accused persons. When an accused is reported by Police Scotland from custody, a procurator fiscal depute will consider the Police report. In any such case, the procurator fiscal depute will have to decide if there is sufficiency of evidence that a crime has been committed and that it was the accused who committed that crime. A sufficiency of evidence means corroborated evidence or evidence from more than one source. There are therefore a number of reasons why an accused might be liberated from custody including that, while there is insufficient evidence disclosed in the report, the police have indicated that further inquiries are ongoing which may lead to sufficiency of evidence to take action against an accused person.

I attach a table below providing the number of people held in custody and liberated pending further enquiries, and the number of these cases marked for: no action; a direct measure, such as a fiscal fine; and cases where the Procurator Fiscal decides to raise solemn or summary court proceedings.

Please note that this data is based on the first marking of a case, so some cases may have subsequently been marked no further action, before the case called in court

Custody cases marked for further inquiries

Year reported

 

Number of subjects (people)

 

First Substantive Marking

1. No Action

2. Direct Measures*

3. Court Proceedings**

No decision yet

 

 

Solemn

Summary

Stip

JP

 

2013-14

468

308

25

28

100

3

3

1

2014-15

486

299

24

40

111

3

6

3

2015-16

506

291

25

47

112

0

3

28

* Direct Measure: - an alternative to prosecution. A number of these are available, please see the link to the COPFS Website for further information. http://www.copfs.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/our-role-in-detail/10-about-us/297-alternative-to-prosecution

**Court Proceedings

Solemn: Serious criminal case before a judge and jury in the High Court or sheriff court
Summary: Less serious criminal cases before a sheriff, stipendiary magistrate or justice of the peace, without a jury
Stip: Stipendiary magistrate; a legally qualified judge who hears summary criminal cases only, located in Glasgow
JP : A lay magistrate who sits in the Justice of the Peace court.