Information on Appeals - Statement by Chief Executive, Eric McQueen

Aug 02, 2013
On 18 June Scottish Court Service (SCS), in response to a request for information made in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act provided data on appeals against conviction and sentence at High Court and Sheriff Court level. The data provided was by appeal type and by judge in respect of cases ‘overturned on appeal in each of the last five years’.

Since the data was originally released a number of serious discrepancies have been identified. Additionally, the SCS did not provide important contextual information as to the date of the original court decision – in many cases the court decision which was subject to appeal was made more than five years ago.

SCS apologises to those affected. Specifically, SCS apologises to those members of the judiciary whose position has been misrepresented as a result of the data provided. The data attributed to the Lord Justice Clerk includes cases originally decided more than five years ago and includes cases in error.  In the course of his judicial career, which commenced in 2000, Lord Carloway has had three cases in which the conviction was overturned and all of these predate 2008.

Likewise the data attributed to Lord Hardie contains errors in that the data indicated that he had eight conviction appeals listed as being sustained when the correct figure is five.

It is also considered likely that the data in relation to Lord Brailsford and Lord Woolman may contain similar inaccuracies and this is currently being checked. 

The position in relation to sheriffs is being considered separately.

SCS is now reviewing all the data and will publish a correct version as soon as possible.

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