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Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975

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312 Form of the charge in complaint.S

The charge in a complaint under this Part of this Act shall be stated in the form, as nearly as may be, of the appropriate form contained in Part II of Schedule 2 to the M1Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act 1954 or in an Act of Adjournal under this Act. No further specification shall be required than a specification similar to that given in that form and—

(a)a person accused may be named and designed according to the existing practice, or he may be named by the name given by him and designed as of the place given by him as his residence when he is examined on declaration, and it shall not be necessary to set forth any other name or names by which he may be known, or any other address or designation;

(b)it shall not be necessary to specify by anynomen juristhe offence which is charged, but it shall be sufficient that the complaint sets forth facts relevant and sufficient to constitute an offence punishable on complaint;

(c)when two or more persons are charged together with committing an offence punishable on complaint, it shall not be necessary to allege that “both and each or one or other,” or that “all and each or one or more” of them committed the offence, or did or failed to do any particular act, but such alternatives shall be implied;

(d)it shall not be necessary to state that a person accused is “guilty, actor or art and part”, but such charge shall be implied;

(e)it shall not be necessary to allege that any act of commission or omission therein charged was done or omitted to be done “wilfully” or “maliciously”, or “wickedly and feloniously”, or “falsely and fraudulently”, or “knowingly”, or “culpably and recklessly”, or “negligently”, or in “breach of duty”, or to use such words as “knowing the same to be forged”, or “having good reason to know”, or “well knowing the same to have been stolen”, or to use any similar words or expressions qualifying any act charged, but such qualifying allegation shall be implied;

(f)the latitude in use to be taken in stating time shall be implied in all statements of time where an exact time is not of the essence of the charge, and the latitude in use to be taken in stating any place by adding to the word “at”, or to the word “in”, the words “or near”, or the words “or in the near neighbourhood thereof”, or similar words, shall be implied in all statements of place where the actual place is not of the essence of the charge, and where the circumstances of the offence charged make it necessary to take an exceptional latitude in regard to time or place it shall not be necessary to set forth such circumstances, or to set forth that the particular time or the particular place is to the prosecutor unknown; provided that where exceptional latitude is taken, the court shall, if satisfied that such exceptional latitude was not reasonable in the circumstances of the case, give such remedy to the accused by adjournment of the trial or otherwise as shall seem just [F1provided also that nothing in the foregoing provisions of this paragraph or in any rule of law shall prohibit the amendment of a complaint to include a time outwith the exceptional latitude if it appears to the court that the amendment would not prejudice the accused;];

(g)the latitude in use to be taken in describing quantities by the words “or thereby”, or the words “or part thereof”, or the words “or some other quantity to the prosecutor unknown” or similar words, shall be implied in all statements of quantities, and the latitude in use to be taken in stating details connected with the perpetration of any act regarding persons, things or modes by inserting general alternative statements followed by the words “to the prosecutor unknown”, or similar words, shall be implied;

(h)where in a complaint, whether raised under statute or at common law, buildings, goods, money, or property of any other description are mentioned, it shall not be necessary to allege the property or possession thereof to be in any person, official, corporation or company, or that the same were not the property of the accused, and the allegation that the same were not the property of the accused shall be implied where it is essential to the criminality of the charge;

(i)where in a complaint or any list or inventory relative thereto any person is referred to, it shall be sufficient to describe him by his name and ordinary address, and it shall not be necessary to describe him as “now or lately” residing at such address, but such words shall be implied, and where goods, articles or things require to be described, it shall be sufficient to describe them in general terms without specifying the materials of which they are made, or any particulars which distinguish them from other goods, articles or things of a similar kind except in cases in which such particulars are essential to the constitution of the offence charged;

(j)the word “money” shall include [F2cheques, banknotes, postal orders, money orders and foreign currency;];

(k)where any document requires to be referred to, it shall not be necessary to set forth the document or any part of it, but it shall be sufficient to refer to such document by a general description;

(l)criminal resetting of property shall not be limited to the receiving of property taken by theft or robbery, but shall extend to the receiving of property appropriated by breach of trust and embezzlement, and by falsehood fraud and wilful imposition, and under any complaint charging the resetting of property dishonestly appropriated by any of these means, it shall not be necessary to set forth any details of the offence by which the dishonest appropriation was accomplished, but it shall be sufficient to set forth that the accused received such property, it having been dishonestly appropriated by theft or robbery, or by breach of trust and embezzlement, or by falsehood fraud and wilful imposition, as the case may be;

(m)under a complaint for robbery, or for theft, or for breach of trust and embezzlement, or for falsehood fraud and wilful imposition, a person accused may be convicted of reset; under a complaint for robbery, or for breach of trust and embezzlement, or for falsehood fraud and wilful imposition, a person accused may be convicted of theft; under a complaint for theft, a person accused may be convicted of breach of trust and embezzlement, or of falsehood fraud and wilful imposition, or may be convicted of theft, although the circumstances proved may in law amount to robbery.

The power conferred by the last foregoing paragraph to convict a person of an offence other than the offence charged in a complaint shall be exercisable by the sheriff court before which such person is tried notwithstanding that that other offence was committed outside the jurisdiction of that sheriff court;

(n)where two or more offences or acts constituting offences are charged cumulatively, it shall be lawful to convict of any one or more of them, and any part of what is charged in a complaint, constituting in itself an offence punishable on complaint, shall be deemed separable to the effect of making it lawful to convict of such offence, and where any offence is charged as having been committed with a particular intent or with particular circumstances of aggravation, it shall be lawful to convict of the offence without such intent or aggravation;

(o)attempt to commit any offence punishable on complaint shall itself be an offence punishable on complaint, and under a complaint which charges a completed offence the accused may be lawfully convicted of an attempt to commit such offence; and under a complaint charging an attempt, the accused may be convicted of such attempt although the evidence be sufficient to prove the completion of the offence said to have been attempted; and under a complaint charging an offence which imports personal injury inflicted by the accused, resulting in death or serious injury to the person, the accused may be lawfully convicted of the assault or other injurious act, and may also be lawfully convicted of the aggravation that such assault or other injurious act was committed with intent to commit such offence;

(p)the description of any offence in the words of the statute or order contravened, or in similar words, shall be sufficient;

(q)the statement that an act was done contrary to a statute or order shall imply a statement that the statute or order applied to the circumstances existing at the time and place of the offence, that the accused was a person bound to observe the same, that any necessary preliminary procedure had been duly gone through, and that all the circumstances necessary to a contravention existed; in the case of the contravention of an order, such statement shall imply a statement that the order was duly made, confirmed, published and generally made effectual according to the law applicable, and was in force at the time and place in question;

(r)where the offence is created by more than one section of one or more statutes or orders, it shall be necessary to specify only the leading section or one of the leading sections;

(s)it shall not be necessary for an offence punishable under any Act of Parliament to quote the Act of Parliament or any part of it, but it shall be sufficient to allege that the offence was committed contrary to such Act of Parliament, and to refer to the Act and any section of the Act founded on without setting forth the enactment at length;

(t)where any act set forth in a complaint as contrary to any Act of Parliament is also criminal at common law, or where the facts proved under such a complaint do not amount to a contravention of the statute, but do amount to an offence at common law, it shall be lawful to convict of the common law offence;

(u)when in a trial the evidence shall be sufficient to prove the identity of any person, corporation or company, or of any place, or of any thing, it shall not be a valid objection to the sufficiency of such evidence that any particulars set forth in regard thereto in the complaint have not been proved;

(v)any exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification, whether it does or does not accompany in the same section the description of the offence in the statute or order creating the offence, may be proved by the accused, but need not be specified or negatived in the complaint, and no proof in relation to such exception, exemption, proviso, excuse or qualification shall be required on behalf of the prosecution;

(w)it shall be competent to include in one complaint both common law and statutory charges;

(x)where an offence is alleged to be committed in any special capacity, as by the holder of a licence, master of a vessel, occupier of a house or the like, the fact that the accused possesses the qualification necessary to the commission of the offence shall, unless challenged by preliminary objection before his plea is recorded, be held as admitted;

(y)in any proceedings under the Merchant Shipping Acts it shall not be necessary to produce the official register of the ship referred to in the proceedings in order to prove the nationality of the ship, but the nationality of the ship as stated in the complaint shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed;

(z)in offences inferring dishonest appropriation of property brought before a court whose power to deal with such offences is limited to cases in which the value of such property does not exceed [F3level 4 on the standard scale] it shall be assumed, and it shall not be necessary to state in the charge, that the value of the property does not exceed that sum.

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Amendments (Textual)

F1Words in s. 312(f) inserted (31.3.1996 subject to transitional provisions and savings in the commencing S.I.) by 1995 c. 20, s. 117(1), Sch. 6 Pt. I para. 110(a); S.I. 1996/517, arts. 3(2), 4-6, Sch. 2

F2Words in s. 312(j) substituted (31.3.1996 subject to transitional provisions and savings in the commencing S.I.) by 1995 c. 20, s. 117(1), Sch. 6 Pt. I para. 110(b); S.I. 1996/517, arts. 3(2), 4-6, Sch. 2

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