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Statement on the case against Robert MacKenzie

Prosecutors have decided to end the case against Robert MacKenzie, who was accused of offences alleged to have taken place at the Fort Augustus school in the Highlands from 1955 to 1988.

This was reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 2013. At that time Mr MacKenzie lived in Canada and, following initial investigations, extradition proceedings commenced in 2016. He was returned to Scotland in February 2020. He was remanded in custody and an application for bail was granted by the court 13 months later in March 2021.

In any case, careful consideration is given to reports of alleged criminality, and proceedings are raised when prosecutors conclude there is sufficient admissible evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.

However, the Crown has a duty to keep cases under review in light of changing circumstances and, after careful consideration of this case, Crown Counsel has now concluded there should be no further proceedings.

Crown Counsel are Scotland’s most senior prosecutors and their decision was communicated to the complainers at the earliest opportunity.

To respect the rights of all those involved in the case it is not appropriate to provide further details of a decision not to prosecute.

Our published Prosecution Code explains there are a number of reasons for this policy and that such decisions are based on confidential information, for example relating to essential witnesses.

Furthermore, public disclosure of the reasons for not proceeding may expose a person to accusations where they no longer have the opportunity of defending themselves in court.

Procurator Fiscal for High Court Sexual Offences Fraser Gibson said: “This has been a complex investigation and COPFS appreciates that it has been a difficult time for all those involved.

“Following a detailed review of the facts and circumstances of the case, proceedings are now at an end.

“The complainers have been informed of this decision.”