Dear Scottish Science Advisory Council,
On 3rd June 2014 I requested the following data, Which was dealt with as FOI 14 00941 :
"I am aware from press reports that your laboratories have been investigating the recent spate of approximately 22 raptor deaths in the Conon Bridge area. press reports have indicated that 14 of the birds have been confirmed as 'poisoned' or 'illegally poisoned' I am writing to you to ask for recorded toxicology data on the birds investigated from this incident, to include:
i) Species, sex, age if indicated
ii) information on any pesticides or poisons identified in animal tissues from toxicology results
iii) level detected of any pesticide or poison identified
iv) any internal comments that may indicate a scientific view on whether any particular bird had died as a result of deliberate abuse or accidental poisoning, or whether the death had been allocated to any particular cause.
v) any data which indicates the laboratory or pathology results had been attributed to 'abuse' or any other cause"
Release of this data was subsequently refused, and under review it was stated that:
"I have carefully reviewed the remaining information in the scope of your request, and considered the exceptions applied to it, namely regulation 10(5)(b) (course of justice, ability to receive a fair trial or ability to conduct a criminal or disciplinary inquiry); and, regulation 10(4)(d) (material in the course of completion, unfinished documents, or incomplete data). I have concluded that reg 10(5)(b) was correctly applied because the police investigation is still ongoing and disclosing this information, which is a crucial part of the evidence, is likely to substantially prejudice that investigation. I note that Police Scotland were consulted on the original decision and their comments strongly supported the conclusion that further information on this incident should not be disclosed. I have concluded that regulation 10(4)(d) was also correctly applied because the laboratory report is still being actively worked on but has not yet been completed.
I have also reconsidered the public interest test that applies to both of these exceptions. I agree with the conclusion that public interest in the facts of this incident is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that the police investigation and any subsequent prosecution is not jeopardised and that incomplete data is not released when it might misinform the public. "
As we are now over 4 years from this original application and the event, it is my belief that sufficient time has now elapsed whereby the reasons for withholding release relied upon at the time can no longer exist. I am therefore formally applying once again for the release of this data under EIR regulations.
Thank you for your email of 25 November 2018 to the Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) requesting information relating to FOI-1400941.
In your correspondence, you state the SSAC having laboratories, please note the SSAC is an advisory body and does not own laboratories.
You may be referring to the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), a Division of the Scottish Government Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate whose role is to provide scientific services and advice in support of Scotland’s agriculture and wider environment, including investigation of wildlife crime in Scotland. They occupy a world class laboratory, glasshouse and experimental farm facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Further information can be found on their website at https://www.sasa.gov.uk/
Should you wish to make a Freedom of Information to SASA, please email your enquiry to: [email address]
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