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News from COPFS

Lord Advocate responds to Lockerbie claims

Following reports in today's press regarding claims in a documentary to be broadcast today that terrorists hired by Iran were responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, the following statement has now been issued by the Crown:

"There is nothing new in these claims and some of the accounts of the evidence reported are inaccurate.

Significant development in historic Moira Anderson murder enquiry

The Cold Case unit within the Crown Office has today issued a statement in relation to one of Scotland’s oldest unsolved murders. Eleven year old Moira Anderson disappeared after leaving her grandmother’s house in Coatbridge in 1957. Following its investigation into the case and the examination of new evidence Crown Counsel has decided that Alexander Gartshore, would be indicted for the murder of Moira Anderson if he were alive today.

Scottish Lockerbie bombing prosecutors meet Libyan prosecutors

A delegation of Scottish and US law enforcement and prosecutors to Tripoli, Libya has met with senior members of the Libyan Congress, and both the UK and US Ambassadors to Libya, to discuss the ongoing criminal investigation into the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988. The Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC, who led the delegation, has said the meetings were extremely positive and there is a commitment on behalf of the Libyan authorities to work with both Scotland and the United States to progress the investigation.

First Cold Case Unit indictment served for historic murder case.

Following an investigation under the direction of the Crown Office Cold Case Review Unit, John Docherty, born 2 December 1964 has been indicted for the murder of Elaine Doyle in Greenock on 2 June 1986. The case will call for a preliminary hearing at the High Court of Justiciary, Glasgow on 10 February 2014. This is the first indictment to be served following an investigation by the Cold Case Unit set up by the Crown Office in 2011.

Report published on enhancing the provision of interpreting in the Scottish criminal justice system

A Skills for Justice report on enhancing the professionalsim of the provision of interpreting in the Scottish criminal justice sector was published today. The report was commissioned by the Working Group on Interpreting and Translation (WGIT) whose members include the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.  The publication reports on the key findings of a scoping exercise to review and evaluate current interpreting provision, standards, qualification, training and service contracts.

Crackdown on criminal behaviour on public transport

The Lord Advocate has today announced a crackdown on criminal behaviour on public transport in a bid to ensure the safety of passengers and transport workers over the Christmas period.

Under the pilot scheme there will be a presumption that anyone committing criminal behaviour on public transport, which puts people at risk of violent or threatening behaviour, will be prosecuted.     

Offences involving violence which cause injury of any description to transport staff will carry a presumption of prosecution in front of a Sheriff and jury – increasing the chances of a jail sentence.

The pilot scheme will run from December until 6 January 2014.

Clutha Helicopter Crash: Investigation process explained

The Crown Office has published details of the investigation process which will follow the Clutha Helicopter crash in Glasgow. Our immediate thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives and the other victims of the incident at this difficult time. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) have responsibility for leading the investigation into any sudden and unexplained deaths in Scotland and deciding whether criminal proceedings or a Fatal Accident Inquiry should be held.

Human trafficking – tackling modern day slavery

Human trafficking has been likened to a modern day form of slavery with victims abused, exploited and dehumanised. Today, 18 October, is EU Anti Trafficking Day and the Scottish prosecution service has brought together specialists from across the country at a conference in Glasgow to share knowledge and encourage joint working to tackle human trafficking in Scotland.


Representatives from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and victim support organisations will debate and work together to raise awareness and consider how best to overcome the challenges in the fight against those who traffic and trade in human beings for profit.

Needs of older victims of crime set out in new prosecution policy

Scottish prosecutors have been issued with new guidance by the Solicitor General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson QC, which sets out how the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will deal with crimes against older people who are victims or witnesses of crime. The Older People’s Policy has been made public, on the COPFS website.

Solicitor General for Scotland attends Lockerbie bombing 25th anniversary events at Syracuse University, New York

The Solicitor General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson QC has accepted an invitation to attend a programme of events at Syracuse University in New York, in remembrance of the 35 students from the University who lost their lives in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

The Solicitor General is leading a delegation from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.