HL Deb 25 November 1982 vol 436 cc1053-4WA
Lord McCluskey

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps are currently taken by the Lord Advocate or by those answerable to him to make available to the defence in solemn criminal trials copies of Crown precognitions, and whether any changes are proposed in this regard.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern

The normal practice is that Crown precognitions are not made available to defence counsel or solicitors, although in special circumstances to enable certain trials to proceed expeditiously the Crown has departed from that rule. As a result of discussions with the Law Society of Scotland, it has been the practice, in the last two years, for Procurators Fiscal to give on request to defence solicitors statements of witnesses whose evidence is regarded as formal or technical.

I hope to resume discussions on this matter with the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society of Scotland and the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland) over the next few months.