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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-33757
Asked by: Alison Johnstone, Lothian, Scottish Green Party
Date lodged: 3 December 2020

Question

To ask the Scottish Government how many incidents involving snaring have been reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Scotland in each calendar year since 2017, also broken down by how many subsequent (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were.

Current status: Answered by James Wolffe QC on 17 December 2020


Answer

On receipt of a case from a reporting agency, the Procurator Fiscal will decide what action may be taken in the public interest with reference to the published Prosecution Code. Prosecutorial action may only be taken where there is sufficient evidence in law. Prosecutorial action in the public interest includes Direct Measures as alternatives to prosecution.

All reports of wildlife crime, including snaring related offences, are considered by specialist prosecutors in the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit (WECU). Each case is carefully considered on its own merits taking into account the full facts and circumstances and available evidence, including the outcome of any further investigations that may have been instructed. Prosecutorial action will be taken where there is sufficient admissible evidence and it is in the public interest to do so. The full range of direct measures is available to specialist prosecutors in WECU for use in appropriate cases.

The outcomes of relevant charges reported to COPFS are provided in the following table:

Charges Reported to COPFS - Calendar Year 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 (to 30 November 2020) under:-

WILDLIFE COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1981 Section 11 A, B, C, D & E (Snaring)

    
       
    

Calendar Year Reported

Action taken re Accused

Action taken re Charge

Outcome

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total Charges Reported

  

8

9

20

3

No Action Total

  

3

0

7

0

Direct Measure

Direct Measure

 

4

1

13

0

Direct Measure

Not Separately Actioned

 

1

1

0

2

Direct Measure Total

  

5

2

13

2

Summary

Court

Convicted

0

3

0

0

  

Not Convicted

0

2

0

0

  

Ongoing

0

0

0

1

 

Not Separately Actioned

 

0

2

0

0

Summary Total

  

0

7

0

1

The majority of the charges marked “No Action”, were due to insufficient admissible evidence.

Notes and definitions

The total number of charges reported will also include charges where action was taken in relation to other charges reported in the case, for example, because the prosecutor took the view that an alternative charge was more appropriate or because details of the charge were included within the body of another charge for evidential reasons. These are shown as “Not Separately Actioned” on the table.

COPFS uses a live operational database and the information contained within it is structured accordingly.

Information provided may therefore be subject to change as our systems are updated for operational reasons.