Recent incidents of antisemitic comments about the Jewish community topped the agenda when representatives of SCoJeC met the new Solicitor General, Lesley Thomson QC, this week.
She said how grateful the Lord Advocate had been for the opportunity to meet the community and hear their concerns first hand, and reiterated his assurance that Crown Office is determined to tackle all hate crime, including antisemitism with utmost seriousness. The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill currently before Parliament would be an additional resource to help prosecutors to support the police in curbing unacceptable conduct.
The other main topic discussed was delays to registering deaths at weekends, especially when cases have been referred to the Procurator Fiscal. Although Crown Office has issued out-of-hours guidance that emphasises the importance of respecting religious and cultural requirements, unfortunately these are not always followed. The Solicitor General said that this was unacceptable, and undertook to circulate a reminder to relevant staff.
SCoJeC Deputy Director Leah Granat commented: "Although we recognise that investigations are sometimes necessary for public health reasons, and in the case of sudden and unexpected deaths, every effort should be made to minimise delay. We are grateful to the Solicitor General and her colleagues for their recognition that delays cause additional distress to the bereaved and her assurance that these issues will be urgently addressed, and for their sensitivity to the concerns of the Community."