Could this please be broken down by year, and by stage in which the case had reached - for example(but not limited to), can you state if a jury had been selected, if it had began in court, or it was before the case was officially processed.
Can you also include a breakdown of why the cases were dropped, for example(but not limited to) a lack of evidence, further action deemed disproportionate, delays by police or prosecutors.
The full costs involved in cases which have been dropped by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in the last three years.
Again, could this please be broken down by year."
We have interpreted your request for information on "cases which have been dropped…" as a request for information on cases which have been marked "no action" and cases which have been marked "no further action".
Information on cases which have been marked "no action", which is where the decision to take no proceedings is made at the outset, and the reasons for those decisions is published on the COPFS website. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we are not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to you and I attach a link to the page of our website which contains that information:
These published statistics also provide information on the total number of cases received in each of the years you have requested information on; and the total number of cases which were marked "no action" or "no further action" should be considered alongside the total number of cases received
Information on cases which have been marked "no further action", which is where proceedings have commenced but then a decision is taken to discontinue proceedings, is also provided on that page, however, I attach a table at Annex A which provides the information on the number of cases marked no further action, along with the reasons for those decisions for the time period you have requested.
We are unable to provide a further breakdown as to the stage those cases have reached. 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 stage a case had reached before it was marked "no further action", we would be required to consider each report individually which had been so marked and the time taken to complete this task would exceed the upper cost limit.
In respect of your request for information on the costs involved in cases which have been dropped, I can advise that COPFS does not routinely collate the costs associated with investigating individual cases and I can therefore confirm in terms of Section 17 of FOISA that COPFS does not hold the information you have requested.