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COPFS

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Section 53(1) R015750

Thank you for your request dated 29 March 2017 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:

"The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service have confirmed that six people have been called at trial under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Section 53(1)

Please could you send me all further information you are able to release (redacted as required to mitigate against data protection concerns) that relates to these cases.

In particular, I am interested in the following for each of the six cases:

1. For each case, I would like to understand more about the outcome of each case. Were individuals found not guilty, or was there another reason? Please supply any recorded information held by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service that may shed light on this.

2. Please provide details of any records of the outcome of each case that are available, including dates, and locations where each person was tried.

3. Any other recorded information held by the Crown and Procurator Fiscal service that pertains to these cases."

I can advise that in respect of the six charges you refer to, one charge was found not guilty, two charges were found not proven, two charges had a plea of not guilty accepted and one charge was withdrawn.

I am unable to provide details of the dates and locations where each person was tried, this is because the numbers are small enough that the release of this information, when taken along with the information which has already been provided, could lead to identification of the persons involved. This information would be personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998. This is an absolute exemption and I am not required to apply the public interest test.

I am unable to provide any further recorded information held by COPFS in relation to these cases.

COPFS hold Police reports, statements and case related information in relation to these cases and I consider that the information you request is held by a Scottish Public Authority, namely the Procurator Fiscal, for the purposes of an investigation which the Procurator Fiscal had a duty to conduct to ascertain whether a person should be prosecuted for an offence and it is therefore exempt from release in terms of Section 34(1)(a)(i) of FOISA.

This is not an absolute exemption and I have therefore considered whether the public interest favours disclosure of the information, notwithstanding the exemption. I consider that there is a strong public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of information submitted by the Police and other agencies to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with allegations of criminality. The Courts have traditionally placed great emphasis on assertions on confidentiality in relation to information contained in such reports. The confidentiality of such information ensures that the agencies involved in the criminal justice process can report to the Procurator Fiscal in a manner which is free and frank and for this reason I consider that the public interest favours upholding the exemptions.

I also consider some of the information to be exempt under Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA, this is because it is the personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998. This is an absolute exemption and I am not required to apply the public interest test.