Edinburgh man fined for failing to attend witness interview

date09 June 2016

An Edinburgh man has been fined £100 for not turning up to a compelled witness interview with Scotland’s environmental regulator.

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Craig Angus Forrest pled guilty yesterday (8 June) at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to failing to attend a compelled witness interview in connection with a criminal investigation being carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

In October 2014 SEPA officers received information that suggested Mr Forrest would be able to assist with an ongoing investigation if he was interviewed, which would enable SEPA to progress it. They attempted to contact him five times, including visits to his home and letter sent recorded delivery. Initially they hoped he would provide a voluntary statement, but after he failed to attend an arranged interview earlier in the month they met him at his property and served a letter requiring him to attend a compelled interview on 23 December.

Despite arranging for this meeting to be in a SEPA office near his home, and offering to arrange transport for him, Mr Forrest never turned up.

Ian Brockie, SEPA’s Unit Manager in SEPA’s Waste Crime Team, said:

“By failing to co–operate, and giving our officers the run-around, Mr Forrest has impacted our investigation and taken officers away from other work, wasting almost 20 hours.

“The requirement to attend a “compelled” interview is our last resort when a request for a voluntary statement is refused. We hope this conviction demonstrates that we will use this new power for SEPA officers (introduced by the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014) to compel people to attend at a SEPA office and provide a witness statement if necessary, and that we will take further action if required.”

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Notes to editors

The exact charge that Craig Angus Forrest pled guilty to was:

  • On 23rd December 2014 at SEPA Office, Clearwater House, Heriot Watt Research Park, Avenue North, Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP you Craig Angus FORREST did without reasonable excuse fail to comply with a requirement posed under Section 108 of the aftermentioned Act in that you did fail to attend at said SEPA Office and answer such questions as the authorised person sees fit to ask and to sign a declaration of truth of the answers in relation to an inquiry into the unauthorised deposit of waste at Meadowfield Farm, Turnhouse Road, Edinburgh; CONTRARY to the Environment Act 1995 Section 110(2)(a)