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News from COPFS

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.

Murderers sentenced for death of Perth man

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Taylor Gordon (19) was sentenced to 17 years imprisonment and Drew Paterson (25) to 18 years imprisonment for the murder of William Reid (27) in Perth on 7 December last year after being found guilty of the crime last month.

Scottish business can lead the way in disrupting organised crime

The Solicitor General today urged business leaders and regulators to play their full part in disrupting organised crime across Scotland.

Speaking at a Serious Organised Crime Task Force seminar hosted by the Crown Office, Lesley Thomson QC said law enforcement needs the continuing support of legitimate business to undermine organised criminals.

Snowden and Jennings sentenced to life imprisonment for Sharkey family murders

Today Scott Snowden and Robert Jennings were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Thomas Sharkey Snr, his son Thomas Sharkey Jnr (21) and eight-year-old daughter Bridget Sharkey.

Snowden was sentenced to Life with a punishment part of 33 years. Jennings was sentenced to Life with a punishment part of 29 years.

New date set for Gary McCourt appeal

A new date has been set for the hearing of the sentence appeal in the case against Gary McCourt.

The hearing will now take place at 10:00 on 13 August 2013 at the Appeal Court at Lawnmarket, Edinburgh.