Crown Office Procurator Fiscal and the Press

Last month (6 April) the Response and Information Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (in Edinburgh) responded to an FOI request by Mr David Scott in an emailed letter (COPFS ref: R011963) as follows:
“Dear Mr Scott,
Thank you for your request dated 14 December 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for the undernoted information:
1.  ‘Please confirm whether the COPFS has issued any letters, instructions, notices, directions or other correspondence to any newspaper, media organisation or broadcaster concerning the Hollie Greig case during [the] period 2010 to the present date.
2.  If the answer to item 1 is yes, please provide copies of any correspondence or the information contained therein.’
I can confirm that COPFS has issued information to newspapers, media organisations and broadcasters concerning the Hollie Greig case during the period 2010 to 14 December 2015.
However, I consider that the information issued to those newspapers, media organisations and broadcasters is exempt from release in terms of Section 34(1)(a)(i) of FOISA.
Hmm.  So Mr Scott has now been told officially that COPFS has indeed been in contact with the press over the Hollie Greig case, but COPFS have decided he’s not allowed to know what COPFS has said to various editors and journalists.  Isn’t that interesting?
Perhaps COPFS contacted journalists to say just what a delight it is to read the newspapers and do keep up the good work?  Or maybe it was something more sinister, such as legal threats to silence reporting of the Hollie Greig scandal.
Since COPFS won’t say what they said, we’re entitled to conclude that COPFS has something to hide.
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