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News from COPFS

Extra help for vulnerable witnesses in Court

From today, 1 September, vulnerable witnesses in Scotland will have greater protection with new provisions of the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2014 coming into force. This includes enhanced special measures to support them when giving evidence in Court.

The Glasgow bin lorry crash - The decision not to prosecute the driver


1. Crown Counsel decided that the driver of the Glasgow City Council bin lorry which collided with and killed six people in Queen Street and George Square, Glasgow, on 22 December 2014, should not be prosecuted.

2. This decision was taken after full and careful consideration of all the evidence relevant to criminal responsibility and was made on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to show that he had committed a criminal offence.

3 years imprisonment after man found guilty of trafficking workers from Bangladesh

A 47–year-old man has been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment, having been found guilty of human trafficking.

Shamsul Arefin carried out his crimes between 2008 and 2010 when he was the owner of the Stewart Hotel near Appin in Argyll.

COPFS recognised as a champion of equality and inclusion

COPFS has been awarded the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) Team of the Year Award 2015 for its “outstanding contribution to delivering change within the field of equality and inclusion, and the positive impact this had on organisational success”.

‘Right to Review’: Strengthened rights for victims of crime in Scotland

Today sees a strengthening of victims’ rights with the introduction of the right in law for a victim to ask for a review of a decision by the Crown not to prosecute their case – this formalises the current practice of the Scottish prosecution service to review cases where appropriate.

Lord Advocate welcomes reductions in Hate Crime

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, today welcomed the publication of figures which show a continued reduction overall in Hate Crime in Scotland.

Investigations by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner Under the Direction of the Crown

COPFS is the sole prosecuting authority in Scotland and, on behalf of the Lord Advocate, decides in every case whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute.  COPFS also has responsibility, on behalf of the Lord Advocate, to investigate all sudden and unexplained deaths in Scotland.

New standards of service for victims and witnesses published

New standards of service have been published today to support and protect victims and witnesses in the Scottish criminal justice system; to make sure they have access to the information they need; and to ensure they are treated fairly.

The standards are the result of a partnership between COPFS, the Parole Board for Scotland, Police Scotland, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and the Scottish Prison Service, in consultation with victims organisations. 

The new Standards of Service explains what a victim or witness can expect to happen at each stage of the criminal justice system process, the standards of service they can expect, and who they can contact for help or advice so they can participate effectively in criminal proceedings.

Standards of Service

COPFS equality progress and achievements

COPFS has today published a report of progress and achievements for its equality and diversity work during the last two years.

During the two year period the Scottish prosecution service fostered constructive working relations with a variety of community groups, worked in partnership with local authorities and other third sector organisations to deliver equality related messages and to develop new policies for prosecutors. COPFS received national recognition for its dedication and commitment to equality and diversity through awards from the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) and Stonewall.

Catherine Dyer, COPFS Crown Agent and Chief Executive said:

"I am proud of our progress and achievements over the last two years but recognise that there is much still to do. I am sure you will find our report both interesting and thought provoking. I would like to thank all COPFS staff, community groups and organisations who have contributed to our success."

Crossing boundaries in reform of criminal law

COPFS is to host the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law conference in Edinburgh from 21-25 June 2015.

The Solicitor General, Lesley Thomson QC, will chair the Society’s 28th international conference, bringing together those from criminal justice organisations and academics from around the world.