Former first minister cleared of 13 counts of sexual assault

Published by Alice Jaspars on March 24th 2020, 11:11am

Alex Salmond has been cleared of 13 counts of sexual assault against nine different women following a two-week trial.

The former first minister was deemed not guilty of 12 counts of sexual assault brought against him, while the thirteenth count was found not proven.

Prosecutors had dropped a charge of Salmond sexually assaulting a tenth woman earlier in the case.

The case was brought against him by an SNP party worker, politician and a number of current and former government officials and civil servants.

Salmond maintained that he was innocent throughout the hearing and said that the allegations were "deliberate fabrications for a political purpose" or "exaggerations" of his behaviour.

Gordon Jackson QC, Salmond’s defence lawyer, said that while his client could have been "a better man on occasions", he had never sexually assaulted anyone.

Following the court’s decision, Salmond said that his faith in the Scottish legal system had been "much reinforced" and promised that evidence which could not be brought into the case for reasons unspecified “will see the light of day."

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the SNP, said: "I am a strong believer in a rigorous, robust independent judicial process where complaints of this nature, if they come forward, are properly and thoroughly investigated, due process takes its course and a court reaches a decision.”

She continued: "I have no doubt that there will be further discussion around this issue in due course, and I will welcome that, but that time is not now.”

In reference to the coronavirus pandemic, Sturgeon concluded: "This country faces a crisis right now that is bigger than anything we've ever faced before, and as first minister my duty to the public is to focus one hundred per cent on steering us through that crisis – and that is what I intend to do."

Jackson Carlaw, the leader of the Scottish Conservative party, said that the case “remains a national political scandal with profound questions of integrity for the first minister and her SNP government."

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Authored By

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 24th 2020, 11:11am

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