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COPFS

Conviction rates 2012 - 16. Guidance, procedure for private prosecution against PF or Police 2013 - 2016 (R015658)

Thank you for your email of 18 March where you requested on the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

1. Conviction rates / figures / percentages of the Crown for any prosecuted criminal cases via their Alloa, Falkirk and Stirling crown offices in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

2. Any Crown guidelines / procedures plus any prosecutions or dismissals figures within the last 5 years referring to Crown prosecutors acting criminally negligent against members of the public.

By prosecuting cases that are without substance or maliciously brought by the police and / or the crown.

3. Any existing Crown guidance how to give notice to the Crown, by a member of the public who is preparing to sue the Crown for criminal negligence / malicious prosecution.

4. Any Crown guidelines / procedures if a member of the public is looking in adding a fiscal and a police officer as private defenders to a criminal negligence / malicious prosecution civil claim.

5. Any Crown guidelines in relation to bringing a private prosecution against a fiscal and a police officer.

6. The number of complaints by members of the public received by the Crown against Alloa Crown office in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.

I will answer your request in the order that you have asked.

1. Conviction rates / figures / percentages of the Crown for any prosecuted criminal cases via their Alloa, Falkirk and Stirling crown offices in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

In terms of s17 of FOISA I am unable to give you this information because COPFS do not hold this information. These details may be held by Scottish Government Justice Department and you can contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

2. Any Crown guidelines / procedures plus any prosecutions or dismissals figures within the last 5 years referring to Crown prosecutors acting criminally negligent against members of the public.

In terms of s17 of FOISA I am unable to give you this information because COPFS do not hold guidelines or procedure.

In relation to the 2nd  part of your request I can confirm there has been no Procurator Fiscals dismissed from their post or prosecuted in relation to carrying out their prosecutorial function  in the last 5 years.  

 
3 . Any existing Crown guidance how to give notice to the Crown, by a member of the public who is preparing to sue the Crown for criminal negligence / malicious prosecution.

4. Any Crown guidelines / procedures if a member of the public is looking in adding a fiscal and a police officer as private defenders to a criminal negligence / malicious prosecution civil claim

I consider that the information you have requested is exempt under Section 17(1)(b) of FOISA as we do not hold this information.

You may find our publication on COPFS website under Publications on the page named "Prosecution, Policy and Guidance" in particular, the Prosecution Code, Book of Regulations and Disclosure. I attach the link for your information: http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications.

In addition, the following legislation and case law relating to Damages against the Lord Advocate and Procurator Fiscal may be of interest to you. 

  • Hester v Macdonald 1961 SC 370 (copy attached)
  • Findlay v McGowan 2010 SWD 12-225 (copy attached)
  • Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (which relates to the question of damages in respect of summary proceedings and states that no prosecutor in the public interest shall be found liable by any court in damages unless certain requirements are established). 

5. Any Crown guidelines in relation to bringing a private prosecution against a fiscal and a police officer.

We do not hold information on this matter.

I have also provided you with a copy of a recent decision in the Stewart and Ors V Payne and Clark which provides some discussion from the court in relation to procedure surrounding private prosecutions and bills for criminal letters.

6. The number of complaints by members of the public received by the Crown against Alloa Crown office in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.

We do endeavour to provide information whenever possible. However, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. Under Section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under Section 12.

In order to identify the complaints against Alloa, Crown Office staff would have to look at over 1000 complaints in order to identify the location and the time taken to complete this task would exceed the upper cost limit.

pdfHester v Macdonald3.92 MB

pdf Findlay v McGowan7.94 KB

pdf 2017-S.L.T.-159272.41 KB