Information

Investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes: review

The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland's review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

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Case Study

Investigation

Inquiry into sexual and physical abuse of male children at an orphanage and school in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Police Reporting

  • 6 accused reported
  • 50 sexual crimes, committed against 22 victims. Also charges of physical abuse

Prosecution Strategy

Project Management Approach:

  • Early liaison between police and prosecutor
  • Early allocation of Crown Counsel
  • Dedicated prosecution team formed including: Case preparer, Fiscal Officer, VIA officer, Crown Counsel

Investigation

Lines Of Investigation

Witness Statements/Productions:

Consideration of:

  • 3 police reports
  • 155 witness statements
  • 240 productions

Additional victims:

Number of victims of sexual crimes rose to 31; 20 were older persons (over 60 years old)

Interviews:

All adult victims of sexual crimes in a potential High Court case are interviewed by prosecutors, here:

  • A meeting took place with all 31 victims of sexual crimes
  • 23 were interviewed by the case preparer (other witnesses did not engage or were medically unfit/dead)

Sensitive records:

  • 27 sets of social work records recovered
  • Medical and school records were obtained –some records held overseas were requested from foreign jurisdiction by International Letters of Request- a time –consuming process outwith the control of COPFS

Expert evidence:

Expert opinion was obtained on:

  • Delayed and staged disclosure of victims
  • Continuing association with accused
  • Ability of some victims to give evidence

Evidential Considerations

  • Identification of accused - given the passage of time – the accused were identified from school photos
  • Applicability of Moorov doctrine – reviewed throughout the life of the case and reconsidered when any victim(s) disengaged
  • Dates of charges – records were obtained to assist with pin pointing dates

Victims

Victim Strategy

  • Meetings held with all 31 victims of sexual crimes
  • Monthly contact made with 27 victims

Court Proceedings

  • 129 witnesses on the indictment
  • 67 given notice to attend for trial
  • 4 victims were not traced/not co-operate – resulting in a number of charges being withdrawn by the prosecutor
  • 19 Vulnerable Witness Notices lodged
  • 1 Evidence on Commission arranged
  • 29 witnesses gave evidence
  • All victims were met by the trial prosecutor prior to giving evidence
  • 10 victims attended for sentencing
  • All victims offered a meeting with the prosecutor to discuss the outcome

Procedural History

Accused 1 2 3 4 5 6
SPR 30/04/14
02/05/14
30/04/14
01/05/14
30/04/14 30/04/14 30/04/14 30/04/14
CFE 09/07/14 09/07/14 03/07/14 03/07/14 03/07/14 03/07/14
No of victims 19 18 5 2 1 1
Case reported to Crown Office 03/03/15 03/03/15 03/03/15 03/03/15 03/03/15 03/03/15
Service of Indictment 31/03/15 31/03/15 31/03/15 31/03/15 31/03/15 NFP
Charges on indictment [43] 43 charges 63 charges 16 charges 5 charges 10 charges
No of victims [44] 28 38 13 5 10
PH 20/05/15 20/05/15 20/05/15 20/05/15 20/05/15
CPH 21/07/15 21/07/15 21/07/15 21/07/15 21/07/15
CPH 16/09/15 16/09/15 16/09/15 16/09/15 16/09/15
Trial 21/04/16 21/04/16 21/04/16 21/04/16 21/04/16
Charges considered by the Jury 23 charges 28 charges APNG NCA NCA
Verdict ( FG) 3 charges 6 charges



No of victims [45] 3 3



Sentencing 5 years imprisonment 10 years imprisonment



SPR = Standard Police Report
CFE = Continued for Further Examination
PH = Preliminary Hearing
CPH = Continued Preliminary Hearing
FG = Found Guilty
NFP = No Further Proceedings
APNG = Accepted Plea of Not Guilty
NCA = No Case to Answer

Contact

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