No prosecutions over referendum postal votes claims

The postal votes are opened and organised for the referendum in the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

The postal votes are opened and organised for the referendum in the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

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THERE will be no prosecutions in relation to the year-long criminal investigation into allegations pro-Union campaigners breached electoral secrecy laws by counting postal votes ahead of last year’s independence referendum polling day, it emerged yesterday.

The Police Scotland investigation into claims of electoral fraud were sparked by comments made on television by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson that postal vote “tallies” were being taken in the weeks before the ballot closed at 10pm on September 18, last year.

Yesterday the Crown Office confirmed that the matter for them is “now closed” after Police Scotland said they “do not intend” to report any individuals as “no criminality has been uncovered”.

The Crown Office ordered a formal police probe on 4 October, last year, into allegations of breaches of the Scottish Independence Act 2013, surrounding the secrecy of the ballot, after a series of complaints were made surrounding Ms Davidson’s comments about the tallies.

Det Insp Glyn Roberts said: “Police Scotland can confirm the investigation has now been completed.

“After an assessment no evidence of criminality has been uncovered and we do not intend to report anyone in relation to offences under the Act. We have been in regular contact with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and they are aware of the findings of the enquiry.”

A Crown Office spokeswoman said: “Crown counsel instructed Police Scotland to commence an investigation. Following that investigation Police Scotland do not intend to report any individuals in relation to offences under the Act therefore the matter for the Crown is now closed.”

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