Edinburgh man fined for failing to attend witness interview

date18 January 2016

An Edinburgh man was fined £100, on 15 January 2016, for not turning up to provide a compelled witness statement to Scotland’s environmental regulator.

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On 15 January 2016 Martin Forrest pled guilty 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 investigation relating to substantial waste deposits near Edinburgh Airport if he was interviewed, which would enable SEPA to progress it.

SEPA officers served a letter requiring he attend a compelled witness interview on 4 March 2015 and he was informed that non-attendance would be an offence.

Mr Forrest subsequently never turned up.

Stuart Grimes, SEPA’s investigating officer, said:

This demonstrates that SEPA’s new powers, which were introduced by the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, can be used to compel people to attend at a SEPA office and provide a witness statement. This shows that if people fail to turn up to provide a compelled witness statement then they are committing an offence.”

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Notes to editors

The exact charge that Martin Forrest pled guilty to:

  • On the 4th March 2015 at SEPA Office, Clearwater House, Heriot Watt Research Park, Avenue North, Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AP you MARTIN FORREST did without reasonable excuse fail to comply with a requirement undersection 108(j) of the aftermentioned Act to answer such questions as the authorised person thinks fit to ask and to ask and sign a declaration of the truth of those answers, and for that purpose attend at said SEPA office at 1300hrs on 4th March 2015 in that you did fail to attend at said SEPA Office at 1300hrs and you did fail to provide information in relation to an inquiry into the unauthorised deposit of waste at Meadowfield Farm, Turnhouse, Edinburgh and answer such questions as the authorised person saw fit to ask;

CONTRARY to the Environment Act 1995 Section 110(2)(a)