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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 10655
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I'm wondering if there are time barrs on being charged with

Customer Question

I'm wondering if there are time barrs on being charged with a crime in Scotland after a complaint?
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Im in scotlnad scotland
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Yes my ex reported a complaint in march 2014 and I was interviewed but not charged in march 2015, but I'm told its an ongoing investigation
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Scots Law
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The complaint was that I had written emails in 2013 that cause alarm or distress. Is there a length of time this can be charged?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

Good morning. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Unfortunately, whereas there is a time limit with civil matters, with ongoing criminal matters, there is no time limit when an investigation is ongoing.

Generally however if there is no further evidence to be gathered, they cannot leave this in limbo forever and anything longer than six months from when the complaint is made would be abuse of process.

It depends then on the nature of the complaint.

However, if we then take the case of a murder enquiry, people are often arrested and released without charge (think of the Yorkshire Ripper for example) and then rearrested months or years later and then charged.

I guess it’s not the answer you wanted, but nonetheless, does it answer the question?

Can I answer any specific points arising from this?

Please do not forget to use the rating service to rate my answer positively. If you don’t rate it positively I don’t get paid.

You may get the impression that the thread closes after rating, but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Kind regards

Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

Good morning. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Unfortunately, whereas there is a time limit with civil matters, with ongoing criminal matters, there is no time limit when an investigation is ongoing.

Generally however if there is no further evidence to be gathered, they cannot leave this in limbo forever and anything longer than six months from when the complaint is made would be abuse of process.

It depends then on the nature of the complaint.

However, if we then take the case of a murder enquiry, people are often arrested and released without charge (think of the Yorkshire Ripper for example) and then rearrested months or years later and then charged.

I guess it’s not the answer you wanted, but nonetheless, does it answer the question?

Can I answer any specific points arising from this?

Please do not forget to use the rating service to rate my answer positively. If you don’t rate it positively I don’t get paid.

You may get the impression that the thread closes after rating, but it does not, it remains open and we can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The complaint was in March 2014. I was interviewed in March 2015, and got a call from reporting officer last week to tell me he is going to speak to the PF about it. It's been almost 3 years. I don't understand??
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

It depends on the nature of the offence.

After this time, if for example it was an allegation of assault, you should have been charged and my guess would be that the Officer is going to speak to the Procurator to see whether it should be dropped.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
It was an allegation of inducing money from him. They said the found that to be untrue but were looking at a section 38? Does this still apply? It's taken over my life for almost 3 years.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 months ago.

I am going to opt out of the question for another expert who may have some more ideas for you. Kind regards

Expert:  JGM replied 4 months ago.

Thanks for your question. I am a solicitor in Scotland and have been asked to deal with this for you. The offence you describe is under section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licencing (Scotland) Act 2010. There is no time limit on prosecution specified in that Act. Accordingly the point is covered in the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 which says that a crime prosecuted under summary procedure, i.e., without a jury, must be commenced within six months. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sorry I don't understand- there's no time limit? But must be commenced within 6 months?
Expert:  JGM replied 4 months ago.

The law is that unless there is a time limit specified in the Act that creates the crime, then it has to be prosecuted within 6 months.