HC Deb 02 February 1999 vol 324 c589W
Mr. Charles Kennedy

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state, in respect of the original advice given by the Crown Office to the Procurator Fiscal in Dingwall over proceeding with criminal prosecutions of those people refusing to pay the Skye Bridge tolls, on what date the Procurator Fiscal requested the advice; on what date the advice was tendered; by what means; who signed the communication; and if he will make a statement. [68339]

Mr. McLeish

[holding answer 1 February 1999]: I am informed by my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate that the Procurator Fiscal at Dingwell first wrote to the Crown Office on 17 and 26 October 1995 in connection with possible criminal proceedings against persons refusing to pay tolls on the Skye Bridge. The Deputy Crown Agent replied on 6 November conveying the Lord Advocate's instructions that the Procurator Fiscal should carry out further work before seeking instructions from Crown Counsel on whether to take proceedings.

Thereafter there was further correspondence between the Procurator Fiscal and the Crown Office which culminated in the Deputy Crown Agent writing to the Procurator Fiscal on 5 January 1996 conveying the instructions of the then Lord Advocate about proceedings.

The hon. Gentlemen will recall that, in a written answer of 16 January 1996, Official Report, column 546, he was advised that the Procurator Fiscal had been instructed by the Lord Advocate to institute criminal proceedings in respect of all instances where this was a sufficiency of evidence and the charges were then in course of preparation.

From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.