The Alex Salmond Trial: Your Man Excluded From the Gallery 230


A jury member is only allowed to consider certain facts in a case. The judge has ruled rigorously on what both prosecution and defence counsel may present as relevant fact. The judge will have excluded certain facts from being presented for various reasons. One of these reasons is Scotland’s idiosyncratic and very strict law on collateral evidence.

The essence of the collateral evidence rule is that what must be judged is the alleged criminal action itself and evidence pertaining directly to it. So if I were alleged to have stolen a tricycle, and an eye-witness says they saw me do it, that must be judged on the evidence of the event itself. If I had evidence, for example, that a social media group had been discussing how to fit Craig Murray up as a thief, that evidence would very likely not be admissible in court because it would be collateral evidence. It does not relate to the direct eye witness evidence on the alleged criminal act itself.

The classic statement of this Scottish common law rule is from Justice Clerk Ross in Brady vs HM Advocate 1986

The general rule is that it is not admissible to lead evidence on collateral matters in a criminal trial. Various justifications have been put forward for this rule. The existence of a collateral fact does not render more probable the existence of the fact in issue; at best a collateral matter can only have an indirect bearing on the matter in issue; a jury may become confused by having to consider collateral matters and may have their attention diverted from the true matter in issue.

Some may find this strict law on collateral evidence counter-intuitive. But it is the law, and the social media group “evidence” would very likely be kept from the jury while my guilt or otherwise of tricycle theft was being considered. The jury would have properly, as is the law of the land, to consider only what the judge directs them to consider in reaching their verdict.

But a journalist is not a jury member. The journalist has a very different role. The journalist’s job is to dig out information of the kind the judge may consider collateral and immaterial to innocence or guilt of the act. The journalist could not, of course, publish any such information during the trial itself or the judge might send them to jail for a considerable period. But the job of the journalist is to dig, and to keep digging.

I am rather a hard working journalist. Therefore coming specifically to the Salmond case I know some things which the jury know but you, dear reader, are not permitted to know, like the identities of the accusers. I know other things around the alleged events which the jury will not know, because it does not fit in to the judge’s, or the lawyers’, view of what is needful to be presented at trial. Some of that I cannot tell you nor even hint at because it may influence the jury in the improbable event that they read my blog. Such event being made even less probable by the judge’s stern and correct admonition to the jury not to read about the trial online. But some of that I can tell you because certain facts are plainly not relevant to the question of guilt or innocence of the charges involved.

[As an aside, I was challenged online as to whether I agreed with the law of contempt of court. My own belief is it is much too strict in limiting publication. Throughout most of the world, freedom of speech allows people to comment on trials as they wish and it is for the jury or the judge not to be influenced by the media. The judge’s direction to the jury not to read or be influenced by media ought to be sufficient. There is something strange about the notion that trial should theoretically be public, but the public not permitted to write about it. What is the point of trials being public if the public are not permitted to comment? It is even stranger that I can say to you down the pub that I thought a witness came across as a liar, but that legally expressed opinion becomes illegal if I tweet it. Where is the line? Can I tell a small meeting I thought the witness was a liar? And finally, the extremely arbitrary powers of the judge to decide who is guilty of contempt of – the judge themself – is an extraordinarily abusive power if you think about it. Being able just to jail anyone who says you are personally doing a bad job is self evidently an abuse of human rights.]

Another category of things which I know, relates to the political circumstances and machinations around this most political of trials. At a crucial moment where the Independence movement is, frankly pathetically and unnecessarily, stalled by the Boris Johnson veto, it is no exaggeration to say that the fate of an entire nation can be affected by the outcome of this trial. The Independence movement is of course infinitely bigger than any individual or collection of individuals, just as the cosmos is much bigger than my teacup. But this trial directly relates to the stalling of the momentum of the Independence movement, and in a manner most people do not realise.

There are vital questions here which in no way depend on whether or not Ms H told the truth in her testimony about events in Bute House. It is very important to say that nothing I write here is affected in any way by whether the alleged attempted rape and alleged attempted assault with intent to rape actually happened or did not happen. Everything I am going to write will remain true whether the alleged assaults happened or not, and what I write makes that neither more nor less likely. The accusers’ claims and the accused’s denials must be fairly judged. I leave that in the very capable hands of Lady Dorrian and the jury (and I may add that all my research has cast no shadow at all on the reputation of the trial judge Lady Dorrian).

The trial was kicked off with by far the most serious allegations first, from Ms H. The court is cleared of the public for the evidence of the anonymous accusers. Media only are permitted to attend and watch in a CCTV room. I have been refused media accreditation on the grounds I do not write for “a media organisation regulated by Ofcom and owned by a limited company.” The ever excellent Grouse Beater blog has a very good compendium of Ms H’s evidence the first two days as reported by journalists, including by James Doleman and by Philip Sim.

I believe however I may comment on one aspect of Ms H’s evidence without fear of contempt of court, because my commentary in no way relates to the allegation made, or comments one way or the other on the plausibility of what Ms H said. I here take an aspect of Ms H’s evidence entirely at face value.

Ms H on Monday in court described herself as a “soft supporter of Independence”, “not very party political.”

Yet this is a person who could stay in a bedroom inside Bute House (not Salmond’s bedroom), who was employed then in a central, vital political capacity, CENSORED PENDING CONTEMPT OF COURT TRIAL, a person approved as an SNP candidate by central vetting, who attempted as the court heard today to get the nomination for an CENSORED PENDING CONTEMPT OF COURT TRIAL consituency CENSORED PENDING CONTEMPT OF COURT TRIAL.

A “soft independence supporter”. Her own words. Approved as a candidate.

This is three years after the alleged attempted rape. My point is purely a political one.

Those of us who are deeply unhappy with the apparent willingness of the SNP to accept a permanent Westminster veto on Independence, and to squander the mandate for Indyref2 won at the last Holyrood election, have long suspected that far too many people at the “professional”, careerist, highly paid core of the SNP are at best “soft independence supporters” and more interested in other political agendas: particularly agendas related to gender and identity politics. The revelations of this trial, entirely unrelated to the truth or otherwise of the allegations against Alex Salmond, are of massive public interest from a political standpoint.

According to her evidence today, when Ms H did finally years later report the alleged assault in Bute House, as she said inspired by the Harvey Weinstein case, she reported it not to the police, not to the civil service, but to the SNP’s conduct and discipline officer, Ian McCann. That is in itself sufficient indication that Ms H, who said in evidence she could go in and out of Bute House without signing in, is not the career civil servant she was rather disingenuously made out to be in the media.

Her evidence was perfectly clear. She made the sexual assault complaint to party HQ with the specific purpose of preventing any possible political comeback by Alex Salmond and to ensure he could not pass vetting in order to become an SNP candidate again. Ms H said this directly in her evidence.

Not only that, but she discussed this plan not just with Ian McCann – who reports directly to Peter Murrell – but with other accusers.

So here we have four women, Women H, G, J, and A, all of their identities kept secret because they are all accusers of Alex Salmond, all of them in very close circle within the current SNP leadership. They are in touch with each other and with Ian McCann. Woman H has given the SNP details of a serious criminal allegation against Alex Salmond with the stated intention that it should be used in vetting to prevent him being an SNP candidate again. She is discussing with some or all of the others how they can make allegations and stay anonymous. The official response from SNP HQ is that they will hold on to the allegations hoping they will “not need to deploy them.”

Witness H is specifically asked against what eventuality the party was sitting on the allegation, and she replied explicitly for vetting – ie to prevent Alex Salmond standing for parliament again. Sitting on allegations of an extremely serious criminal offence, in case you have to deploy them – why? for the political purpose of preventing an Alex Salmond comeback – is a very strange way indeed to deal with a criminal matter. Attempted rape is far more serious than that. If it is true, this is a gross insult to victims of sexual violence everywhere.

I repeat again, in the interests of my not going to jail. None of this in any way reflects on the truth or otherwise of the alleged assault itself. The above is all perfectly possible if based on a real, or based on a fabricated assault. I am not commenting on Ms H’s credibility. That would be illegal. I am commenting on the interesting fact of the SNP staff and the accusers sitting on allegations with the intention of deploying them, specifically only if necessary, to end Alex Salmond’s political career. The idea that attempted rape could be an insurance against an Alex Salmond comeback – an idea into which SNP HQ were fully bought in. Indeed it was SNP HQ who expressed it that way.

If you look through the twitter lines, you will see that journalists between them have missed at least three quarters of what is said in court. Because I am not there I am dependent on their selection of material. But allied to my background knowledge, I do hope that I have managed to elucidate some of what is happening, and fulfilled my purpose of supplying information you will not get from corporate and state media. It is plain enough that what I have stated is what has been given as evidence. It is extraordinary that mainstream media reports that I have seen mention none of this, but again only concentrate on the lurid details of the happenings in Bute House as alleged by Miss H.

Iain Macwhirter reckoned this trial could split the SNP from top to bottom. I respect Iain greatly and I know why he said it. But I believe Iain is wrong about the effect on the party. As more revelations come out, despite the anonymity of the accusers, what I do believe this trial might do is enable the broader SNP membership to cast off a fairly small and unrepresentative group of careerists who have gained control of the party machinery, who never had Independence at heart and have been making a very fat living on the back of the efforts of a devoted membership.

Irrespective of which, I wish the judge and jury well in their efforts to reach a fair and considered verdict on the allegations.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

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230 thoughts on “The Alex Salmond Trial: Your Man Excluded From the Gallery

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  • Giyane

    I was once dismissed on the spot as a maintenance man in student accommodation for joking about myself as a dirty old man. Thanks be to God, I’m not a walking time bomb of a sexual predator, but I do have a sense of humour and a sense of proportion. So the question is, why would anybody in the SNP not want to block someone whose lifestyle choices made him a liability? You seem to think that they wanted to block independence. We are maintenance men, not wimps, but everyone has to learn the rules of the society they live in, even dinosaurs like myself who went to all male boarding schools till the age of 18.

    Salmond should apologise and try to muster up some contrition for any offence caused by him. Even if as I suspect this type of behaviour was normalised in the circles he was moving in. Personal growth is painful, but necessary in the long run. Ouch!

    • Sirius

      You have completely missed the point, so much so that it appears that was your intention.

    • Stonky

      Even if as I suspect this type of behaviour was normalised in the circles he was moving in. Personal growth is painful, but necessary in the long run…

      Who knows Giyane. Maybe one day you’ll grow out of thinking of your wife as a piece of your personal property. However normalised that might be in the circles you move in, the personal growth process, although painful, is necessary in the long run. Maybe you’ll even apologise, and muster up some contrition…

      • Giyane

        A man who condones adultery us barred from Paradise.
        I was once accused by a Scottish lady shrink of condoning it, so I try to make myself very clear this time round. Not just to my wife but to the community of mosque spies who monitor every click and dot on my keyboard , as they try to hammer their square racist pegs into their bete noir, an Englishman.

        • Stonky

          A man who condones adultery is barred from Paradise….

          I can’t think of a worse fate than to be trapped in Paradise for all eternity with a bunch of devout Muslims. I’d rather take my chances in Hell with the adulterers.

          I mean I realise I’m going to suffer having my skin repeatedly burnt off, and boiling water and molten metal poured over my head and down my throat, and various other indignities. But surely after a few million years you get inured to it.

          Then you can wind Allah up by laughing at him and telling him it doesn’t hurt…

    • Muscleguy

      I have recently acquired a PVG certificate for work with young people in my capacity as a Private Science Tutor. If I were to refer to myself in those terms to a student or their family I would expect them to report that fact.

      That you can even consider yourself in those terms is the problem here. That you cannot see that and miss the point as others have pointed out is a problem. It is perhaps a bit iniquitous that things not only have to BE correct they have to be SEEN to be correct.

      But in your position in a hostel full of young persons, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time. I have been there. I had to fend off a girl I didn’t like who took a fancy to me. I also met the woman who became my wife there. We were not the only couple formed from that environment. But that the prerogative of young people and old men, dirty or otherwise have no business in noting the fact in any way shape or form. In that environment you had to be a cipher, a neuter in the same way persons in the caring professions have to be.

      That you did not get this is plain. I hope you are wiser as a result but that you related it in that way suggests otherwise.

      • Giyane

        Muscle guy

        100% I get it. I just don’t understand why Salmond doesn’t get it. Lol

        • Royd

          ‘100% I get it. I just don’t understand why Salmond doesn’t get it. Lol’

          You are presuming Mr Salmond’s guilt Giyane. The trial isn’t over yet.

          • Giyane

            Royd

            No I’m not presuming guilt . I’m presuming readers of this blog understand English.
            Seems not.

    • Tom Welsh

      “I was once dismissed on the spot as a maintenance man in student accommodation for joking about myself as a dirty old man”.

      That is hardly germane, as you should not have been dismissed. Or reprimanded. If a job entails the condition that its holder should never make a joke, (s)he should be told so up front.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Giyane,

      ” offence caused by him”

      ‘Offence’ as in offending a person’s feelings – versus – conduct and/or comment which constitutes an offence in point of law are quite two different things. Even if he apologised for the former does not automatically mean guilt for the latter.

      • Giyane

        Courtenay Barnett

        Of course I meant what I said / said what i meant.
        Who am i to say whether he committed “an offence “??!
        Anyway , thankyou for your affirmation of my obvious meaning.

    • terence callachan

      So are you saying he is guilty Giyane ?
      You must be if you think he should apologise
      The trial isn’t over yet so what you say is silly

      • Giyane

        Terence callaghan

        Your statement is absurd. You don’t apologise for committing a crime. You apologise for causing offence.

    • jim hogg

      The presumption of innocence still applies in relation to almost all criminal allegations to the best of my knowledge. Maybe we’d be best served by waiting until the case has been concluded before making assumptions and issuing public advice based on them.

  • ciaris

    “have long suspected that far too many people at the “professional”, careerist, highly paid core of the SNP are at best “soft independence supporters” and more interested in other political agendas: particularly agendas related to gender and identity politics..”

    This is a key issue in today’s politics. Bluntly, MP’s may be elected on a party ticket, but show little loyalty to the party aims. There is a cross-party group of female MP’s I would trust as far as I could throw them. And I’m afraid, they don’t appear to care over-much for even the manifesto commitments.

    I’ve observed before, I’m not all that sure Nicola herself is a hard Independent. Soft, at best. Her ambitions are more related to feminism and equality, whatever that is. It’s a problem. I’ve given up all my notions of equality, being no longer young.

    • Giyane

      Ciaris

      The womenfolk of Egypt protesting against the dictatorship of the late Mubarak did not use sexual politics like some British feminists. What has sexual conduct to do with a political campaign? Everybody, high or low , has to stretch their minds beyond their own personal desires and take other people’s lives into consideration. Absolutely nothing to do with anybody’s political opinions. Common respect for human decency ought to be at the foundation of any political institution.

  • Sim

    PPE – a University Degree in Psychopathy, Politics and Economics, and these days an absolute must for any one with a driving ambition to get on in the world. All the movers and have one.

      • Magic Robot

        It already is: “P.P.E. – ‘Personal Protective Equipment.’ Generally meant to be safety related clothing, for use in the workplace: goggles, ear-defenders, gloves etc.”
        The ‘personal’ part could, by extension, mean anything, could it not?

  • Stonky

    And before the thread descends into another minute-by-minute account of Giyane’s personal odyssey, can I say what a great article this is. It’s a genuine eye-opener, and provides a fascinating and all-too-rare glimpse into “what is actually going on around us”. Thanks Craig. I can’t wait to find out the indentities of this small clique of careerist hacks, and I can’t wait to see them standing up in public outlining their plans for independence…

    • terence callachan

      Well said

      I want to know who they are and why it is okay to accuse someone of rape and then say don’t tell anyone just ensure it’s used to stop someone rejoining the party and then years later go to the police about it
      Unbelievable

  • Stonky

    By the way, you have twice referred to Ms H as “the key witness”. Does this mean the prosecution thinks hers is the strongest charge and the one most likely to secure a conviction? On the basis of what I’ve seen so far, good luck to them – they’d better be praying for a Ched Evans jury.

      • Stonky

        I understand that they’re the most serious charges. But it seems to be that they’re just mud that’s been slung around so it will stick, once they get him for the heinous crime of “touching her leg with his hand over her clothing”(Woman C).

        And the Woman A charges are intriguing: “touching her arms and hips with his hands over her clothing…” In order to convict him on that one, do they have to convince a jury that he touched her arms and her hips, or will just the arms do?

        • Pb

          So if Alex is acquitted of all charges except touching a clothed leg are we to expect a MSM headline

          AS found guilty in rape trial

        • Tom Welsh

          When will we see women prosecuted for touching a man’s body through his clothing? Or, indeed, directly?

          • Magic Robot

            The only solution appears to be the re-introduction of the Victorian ‘chaperone.’ Usually, an elderly, matronly type of woman (like ‘nursie’ to the Queen in ‘Blackadder’), employed to ensure that absolutely none of that hankie-pankie sort of thing goes on.

          • terence callachan

            Never,

            When will you see a woman prosecuted the same way as a man and given the same sentence as a man for the same crime ? Never

            If I accused a woman of touching my leg through clothing it would not even be considered a crime

          • Tom Welsh

            Ironically in our “liberated” era, terence, that is presumably because only men are deemed to have sexual drives. Women are pure and holy, so if they touch a man it is only for good and reputable reasons.

            What’s that you say? Contradicts the dogma that men and women are exactly the same in all ways? Watch it, that sounds dangerously like “logic” – known to have been weaponized by the white male patriarchy.

          • porkpie

            “When will we see women prosecuted for touching a man’s body through his clothing? Or, indeed, directly?”

            Perhaps when a man feels his job/prospects will be harmed if he complains about a more powerful woman making unwanted sexual advances. So not very likely, I agree.

            Some shockingly blase views on sexual assault being aired here. I am disappointed at the lack of pushback.

        • Lorna Campbell

          The alleged incident is classed as an assault in our law, Stonky, whether it has your approval as such, or not: I did not steal the computer because it was clothed in a laptop case and was not a bare computer, so I couldn’t have stolen it. That doesn’t cut the mustard in our legal system, I’m afraid. Your antediluvian views on women are not of any help whatsoever, quite the reverse. Leave the prosecution to the prosecution lawyers and the defence to the defence lawyers, eh?

    • Contrary

      Exactly what I was thinking Stonky, we can’t know all the evidence given of course, but these are the most serious charges and this is the key witness, and it already sounds pretty shoogly for the prosecution.

      I’m hoping for an answer at some point as to why these accusations only cover such a short period of time, when the defendant has had such a long career in politics, and if it is repeated behaviour,,,

      • terence callachan

        So am I getting something wrong here ?
        A woman who had designs on being a SNP MP in an area that borders AS area accuses him of a serious crime but only tells SNP HQ and it is decided by them all including the accuser that they will do nothing more but will use the accusation to deter AS from getting involved in SNP politics again

        But for some reason years and years later perhaps because AS might get involved with SNP again the accuser decides its time to tell the police

        Will anyone possibly consider that the accuser had something to gain by making allegations like this you know if she thought her chances of getting elected as SNP MP for that area she wanted would be much reduced because AS didn’t want her getting it then finding a way of keeping him out would help , wouldn’t it ?

        • Contrary

          From what I can tell from your befuddled nonsense there Terence, yes, I think that covers some essential take-away conclusions from what the first witness has given in evidence. You could even add in ‘possible collusion’. Not a very good look, but maybe there are other factors that we don’t get to hear about but the jury does,,, but then, we just had a couple of prosecution witnesses seemingly contradict some of H’s testimony, I’m getting fairly befuddled myself now, have to say.

      • Lorna Campbell

        Don’t go there, Contrary. Just don’t go there. If you don’t know the answer, don’t ask the question.

  • Carl

    Well done, Craig. Dont know where else one would see the dots joined like this and achieve s proper sense of what is really going on here.

  • Gerry Bell

    A bizarre state of affairs but thanks for your careful explanation of Scottish Law, Craig. While I grasp the judge’s duty to instruct a jury as to relevant remarks or evidence, it then seems unreasonable that such ‘collateral evidence’ issued and considered amongst the general public be regarded as illegal!
    If it is within the judge’s powers to decide what the jury can and cannot take into account – and the jury is supposedly compliant – why should either care about the existence of illicit ‘collateral’ evidence elsewhere? Does the judge not trust his jury? Do we need a judge at all if the rule is so hard and fast, the collateral aspect so self-evident? I cannot grasp this abuse of press freedom and the rights of the general public. 😠

    • Muscleguy

      That would be all fine and dandy until an appeal is launched. Lower court judges can be and are badly criticised for not following the law in their courts. Such a judge would be carpeted and perhaps defenestrated from the profession. No judge likes to be appealed based on how they ran the case. On points of law, fine but not the former.

      If there are rules and they ae not followed chaos results. The present system may not be perfect but it is the product of many appeals and law changes to try and make it fairer. No matter how much of a blackguard I am whether or not I did THIS crime is the only matter on issue. If all blackguards can be convicted of anything with a ‘fling enough mud and it sticks’ tactic then the polis will just arrest the likely lads and lasses and fit them up. Much easier than a proper investigation.

      That used to happen, these rules were brought in in part to prevent them happening and force the polis to do proper investigations using proper rules of evidence gathering, preservation and presentation. The polis chafe under them but without such care cases fall and should fall.

      Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. I know mine and do not want to go back there because you and others do not know theirs.

    • Tom Welsh

      “If it is within the judge’s powers to decide what the jury can and cannot take into account…”

      From a common sense point of view, I imagine that that is impossible. The judge may say whatever she wishes, and maty take whatever view she wishes of the jury’s verdict.

      But, as far as I know, she cannot overturn a verdict except on limited technical grounds; and she cannot ask the jury to explain why they returned a given verdict. (And if she could, they could equally easily lie about it).

      • terence callachan

        A judge can instruct someone to ignore something but the person may well not ignore it and use it in making their decision and as long as they never say that they did this nobody would ever know

        That’s how silly it is

  • Stonky

    By the way, it’s a long time since I studied law, but I’m not sure if your bicycle theft analogy is quite correct. If the person who “saw you stealing the bike” was one of the group who had been talking on social media about how to fit you up, then surely the social media evidence would become material rather than collateral.

    • Drue

      The “bike theft witness” said he saw the crime after a discussion on how to fit him up. Ergo, no theft & no witness. That’s how I read it anyway…

    • jim hogg

      Absolutely. The social media comments about fitting up would become a central part of the accused’s defence. Admissibility and collaterality are negotiable issues; generally evidence of character tends to be seen as collateral and not relevant, but many factors might influence whether or not it can be led. The law is not a complex mechanical contrivance. It has many blurry expanses between its shades of grey. It evolves constantly.

    • Duncan Shipley Dalton

      I am not sure you have correctly described the rule on collateral evidence. I admit I am not legally qualified in Scotland but I am in England and wales and in NI. My understanding of the rule in Scotland is that it does not differ that much. There are I believe some differences because of the corroboration rule in Scotland. The purpose of the rule is to prevent the Court being drawn off down a rabbit hole of investigating irrelevant issues.

      Generally if a non defendant witness gives evidence on an issue that is collateral then their evidence cannot be rebutted by the introduction of additional evidence. For instance if a witness said they saw you steal the bike and Counsel cross examined them on how they had got to the scene of the incident and they said “I walked” but you had documentary evidence showing they actually caught a bus then the evidence proving they got a bus would be inadmissible because it is a collateral issue. How they got there is not a material issue to the offence or the truthfulness of their evidence and this is what the collateral evidence rule seeks to exclude. This doesn’t mean the evidence has to be accepted by the tribunal of fact but Defence Counsel can’t attempt to rebut it. Otherwise you could be off trying to rebut so many side issues the Court loses track of what is actually material. In theory the Jury could be confused by it and it wastes Court time and wastes public money.

      Certainly in England and Wales and NI there are exceptions to the collateral evidence rule.1. Previous convictions, 2. Establishing bias, 3. Reputation for untruthfulness, 4.Disability affecting reliability.

      Again with your bike example if the witness testified they had seen you steal the bike and Counsel cross examined them suggesting they had a grudge against you and were bias and they denied this then I would expect the evidence of a social media discussion on how to fit you up would fall pretty neatly into the bias exception and be admissible collateral evidence.

      In general collateral evidence is not admissible to attack character in an attempt to undermine the credibility of a non defendant witness but if it goes to a material issue it can be. So in the CJM (No2) v HM Advocate [2013] HCJAC 22 the case you linked to the evidence of the complaining witness having made a previous sexual assault allegation that was later recanted was not admissible because the defendant was a different person, the time between incidents was long and the complainant, whilst arrested for wasting police time, was never prosecuted or convicted. In that sense it was collateral (to distant from) the material issue of the truthfulness of the assault allegations under trial. If for instance it had instead been evidence of a string of allegations by the complainant made, against multiple different persons, over a period of years, then I would have anticipated it would be admissible because it does go to the witnesses credibility in a material way and thus the truthfulness of the allegation.

      The key question is whether the primary evidence that you wish to introduce secondary evidence to rebut, is actually a collateral issue. If so then the general rule holds and it cannot be further questioned or rebutted by additional evidence. As far as allegations of behaviour that in themselves constitute evidence of the mens rea and/or actus reus of a criminal offence then they are not likely to be collateral and introducing evidence to attempt to rebut it would be permitted.

  • Boyce Franks

    “I am commenting on the interesting fact of the SNP staff and the accusers sitting on allegations with the intention of deploying them, specifically only if necessary, to end Alex Salmond’s political career. The idea that attempted rape could be an insurance against an Alex Salmond comeback – an idea into which SNP HQ were fully bought in. Indeed it was SNP HQ who expressed it that way.”

    I am no lawyer but this is sounds like blackmail. ‘we will accuse you if X if you do y’.

    • Tom Welsh

      Once you think about it carefully, a very large proportion of all social behaviour can sound disturbingly like blackmail.

      The difference between negotiation and blackmail is not always at all clear.

      • Pooh

        Tom Welsh

        I agree.

        However, “… the SNP staff and the accusers sitting on allegations with the intention of deploying them, specifically only if necessary, to end Alex Salmond’s political career.” – negotiation or blackmail? Hardly negotiation, I would’ve thought.

        I would also think “the SNP staff … sitting on allegations” breached a duty of care they owed the SNP members and perhaps members of the public.

          • Pooh

            Tom Welsh

            Thank you for your kind comment. A spectrum it is. And I share your suspicion.

            I read “That Pesky Napoleonic Code” some years ago: I‘ve been checking Lew’s site for years. I’ll read it again.

            It so happens that I’m interested in things French, and so the Napoleonic Code is not a complete stranger to me. I wonder whether it could be useful in the context of the case in issue to distinguish between the Napoleonic Code, Code CIVIL, and (also Napoleonic) Code PÉNAL. Just a thought.

            Your posts are exceedingly good, imho. (Such a statement may sound like bear’s bare flattery, but this bear doesn’t care. 🙂 )

            Thank you once again.

            Good wishes.

    • terence callachan

      I agree furthermore I would go as far as to say that nobody would do such a thing. Something as serious as rape would be reported to the police, it makes no sense to say I didn’t report it to the police because I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened to me.
      Oh, except all the SNP HQ staff I was happy for them to know about it and use it as a weapon to stop AS returning to SNP.

      Really ?

      • Tom Welsh

        Unless of course a given act might be considered trivial and inoffensive by everyone concerned… but might also happen to be an offence. In which case…

    • Lorna caampbell

      Retrospective legislation on senior members of a Cabinet, including a FM, had not been in place during all the time in question. No matter how any of us feels about this, let’s stick to the facts, eh?

  • Neil

    I’m glad that, unlike Julian’s kangaroo court in London, this trial is being properly conducted according to the law, and is held before a jury.

    I have only been called to do jury service once (and I am too old now to be liable for jury service again), but if my experience is anything to go by, juries take their job very seriously indeed, and are very good at it. In particular, they are good at detecting who is lying, and who is telling the truth. As well as systematically going through all the evidence, and evaluating it carefully.

    The only caveat I have is that a jury can only decide a case on the evidence put before it. So if some important evidence is excluded, that might lead to an incorrect verdict.

    • Stonky

      I’m glad that, unlike Julian’s kangaroo court in London, this trial is being properly conducted according to the law, and is held before a jury

      I’m not so sure that is a good thing. The jury will hear two versons of a story about what happened in a room, told by two different people. There is absolutely no way they can know what happened, and there is absolutely no way they can know which party is telling the truth. Therefore – quite literally – the only basis on which they can make their decision is gut feel. Or alternatively, prejudice, if they happen to be prejudiced.

      And a quick scan of the Guardian columns from the early days of the Assange/Sweden case (in the days when they still allowed comments) will show that there is absolutely no shortage of people out there who will happily convict a man of rape because he has been accused of rape. (I once saw him described as “the albino rapist” in a post that did not cause Ms Moddy the slightest concern.) Many commenters had Julian charged, convicted, and sentenced as soon as the first accusations were made.

      There is no vetting of juries in Scotland. Add into the mix the fact that there is a substantial number of people in Scotland who have a visceral hatred of Salmond for political reasons…

      Do you see what I’m getting at?

      • Neil

        Stonky March 11, 2020 at 09:06,

        Well I can only report on my own experience (a court on the south coast of England). If the jury can’t tell what happened, i.e., “beyond reasonable doubt”, then the law says they should return a “not guilty” verdict. The judge’s directions before the jury retires make that perfectly clear. Incidentally, jurors aren’t vetted in England either, nor should they be. Sure, jurors are human, and can sometimes get it wrong, but in the rare event that they do, there is the possibility of appeal.

        • Cubby

          Neil

          I have been on 3 juries in Scotland. All criminal cases. One very serious case. My experience was not the same as yours. A key difference is the not proven verdict. Some lazy jurors just wanted to go for that as a quick get out and get back to their normal life.

          I guess what I am saying is juries will vary from town to town, country to country and legal system to legal system. Some will indeed comprise of the vast majority being upstanding jurors taking their responsibilities seriously others not so much. Some do not have the capacity or inclination to analyse detailed evidence a quote from one of my fellow jurors – “he is a ned it is obvious he did it”

        • Neeps

          There is a push to vet jurors in sexual offence cases in Scotland (to increase the conviction rate). It is all about convictions,
          at least according to those pushing this sinister agenda. Who cares if they are innocent or not so long as there is a conviction.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The jury will hear two versons of a story about what happened in a room, told by two different people. There is absolutely no way they can know what happened, and there is absolutely no way they can know which party is telling the truth”.

        Surely, then, there can be no case to answer. “Gut feel” is not evidence.

        • Stonky

          Surely, then, there can be no case to answer. “Gut feel” is not evidence…

          That’s the way rape law works. Juries have to make decisions which they cannot conceivably make on anything other than purely arbitrary grounds.

          • Stewart

            No, that;s not the way “rape law” works, it’s just the only way to decide when it comes down to one person’s word against another’s in the absence of any other evidence.
            In most trials, including rape trials, this is thankfully not the case.
            BTW getting angry about “rape law” in a public forum is not a good look mate

          • Stonky

            No, that;s not the way “rape law” works…

            You need to be a bit better informed, and a bit less smug.

            What I have described is exactly how rape law works (or ‘rape law’ as you seem to want to call it). Rape is the only crime where the police will press charges and the fiscal will prosecute, where there is no evidence that the offence took place other than the alleged victim’s testimony – no corroborative evidence, no witnesses.

            That is precisely the case with regard to Charge 11. There is no evidence that the incident took place, and the Prosecution is not going to present any. There were no witnesses. They are simply going to stand up Woman H and she is going to say “This happened”, and AS is going to say “No it didn’t”. In these circumstances, any jury decision is purely arbitrary. They cannot possibly know what happened, and they cannot possibly know which of the two is telling the truth. That doesn’t happen in any other area of criminal law.

            BTW getting angry about “rape law” in a public forum is not a good look mate…

            One, I’m not angry – just pointing out facts that other people might not be aware of. Two, I’m not your mate. Three, being a supercilious arse isn’t a good look either.

          • Neeps

            Even if there is no requirement, as indeed any criminal trial, for the accused to give evidence if they do not respond to an accusation it is a question of one person’s words against no words from one person. The jury, the court will be expecting to hear from the accused. It is the “highlight” of the trail. It forces someone accused of a sex offence to give evidence and to give a denial in open court, to, in effect to plead for their liberty in front of a jury. It depends on subjective factors such as how they come across, how ‘likeable’ they are etc. It is like something out of a Medieval Witch Trial. Now, the courts are moving to use prerecorded ‘evidence’ the whole process will become even more Kafkaesque for the accused.

      • jim hogg

        The requirement that the case be proved “beyond reasonable doubt” sets a fairly high bar and what this means will be made clear by the judge. But, you’re right to be concerned. Unconscious biases and analytical limitations combine to undermine that lofty aim. If we’re going to have trial by jury it would surely be better for juries to comprise of professional evidence assessors who’ve been very carefully selected for their ability to be impartial, thoroughly trained in relevant legislation and rules of evidence, and their judgements should be subject to monitoring; though not perhaps as thoroughly trained and experienced as senior judges. Or we could retire the jury system completely.

        • Denton Scratch

          You are speaking of assessors appointed by the authorities – either the government or the court.

          That just won’t do, if I ever go on trial.

          The Crown will be prosecuting me; I don’t want their choice of jurors to evaluate The Crown’s case.

          The courts will be overseeing the case. I don’t want their choice of jurors to be the ones that decide if the judge conducted the case fairly (c.f. Assange).

          No, I’m happier with jurors that are like me. Most people are decent and reasonable; and everyone I know that has sat on a jury has said that their fellow jurors were scrupulous, careful, thoughtful, and reasonable. I’d prefer a jury of my peers.

      • Lorna Campbell

        “…there is absolutely no shortage of people out there who will happily convict a man of rape because he has been accused of rape…”

        On the contrary, Stonky, which, if you have a law degree, you would know. If you had said: there is absolutely no shortage of people out there who will never happily convict a man of rape… That, indeed is the statistical case. Rape convictions are in the 3-6% category of convictions. That is, 3-6% of all reported and prosecuted rapes (out of 100% of reported rapes) lead to a conviction. The incidence of non-reported rape is extrapolated to be more than double non-reported rapes. Sorry, chaps, but you have the best of it, but where a woman its proved beyond reasonable doubt to have lied about rape or sexual assault, she is quite severely prosecuted and the whole episode given widespread coverage, leaving other women, real victims of rape, with a uphill climb to overcome prejudice. We simply do not know who is telling the truth or otherwise because we were not there, but, as criminal trials require proof to the standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, that is all the defence needs to show. It is the for the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It is not a crime to be led by your trousers, just a weakness that can be exploited, and of which all politicians should beware. Let’s hear more of the evidence before we jump to conclusions.

          • Stonky

            Thank you Lorna, you were more restrained than I would have been…

            Hey porkpie don’t hold back. Give it to me with both barrels.

            Tell you what – try some irrelevant statistics, followed by a couple of logical non-seuqiturs, and then a straw man. You’ll have me reeling in no time.

        • Giyane

          Lorna Campbell

          In the page above there are maybe half a dozen who think Witness H is lying and half a dozen that don’t. What I read in the Grousebeater account was a huge amount of compassion indeed love and respect for Alex Salmond from Witness H, and absolute horror that he misread that as a sexual green light.. I don’t see political malice and I don’t see any disrespect.

          I can understand how politics can be obsessive.
          Even on a day when the Tories are dishing out xmas presents in the budget I will never relent in my utter scorn for everything Tory. In this case there seems to be a massive bias against the witnesses. I don’t know where that comes from, but it is very odd.imho.

          • Cubby

            Giyane

            I have no idea what you have been reading – a Mills and Boon novel perhaps. I am reading a political scandal.

          • Lorna Campbell

            Thank you, Giyane, I am coming from the evidential aspect of the case. No one’s rights should be crushed in a trial – neither the alleged accused’s nor the alleged victims’. Anything else and we go down the slippery slope of fascism. I sought only to point out the fallacies that surround rape trials in the minds of the general public. In the end, it will come down to whom the jury believes, based on the factual evidence presented, and the need to avoid convicting a potentially innocent person, which is why the standard of proof is so high in criminal cases of all types. Rape convictions are low, mainly, I should say, because of the nature of the alleged crime and the usual lack of witnesses and/or corroborative evidence. Sometimes it will come down to whom the jury believes, and if there is the slightest doubt, the standard of proof has not been reached.

        • Stonky

          On the contrary, Stonky, which, if you have a law degree,..

          I asssure you that I do have a law degree, Lorna, but it didn’t render me either innumerate, or thick.

          First. The 3-6% figure you cite has absolutely nothing to do with the willingness of jurors to convict in rape cases, because it has nothing to do with the number of cases that go to trial and end in convictions. That figure (which appears inordinately difficult to find, for reasons that are not immediately clear) appears to be around 40%, and little different from other crimes. In case that seems complicated to people like porkpie, let me explain it again. Rape cases that go to trial have a 40% conviction rate, indicating that juries are just as willing to convict in these cases as any other.*

          Second. My argument isn’t based on junk statistics. It’s based on a factual observaton, namely, that hundreds of Guardian readers were ready to openly condemn Assange as a rapist, even though he had never even been – and never was – charged. And the Guardian allowed – in fact encouraged – them to do so.

          Third. Even if you are correct in your asserton, that lots of people will “never happily convict a man of rape”, it doesn’t negate my argument. In fact it bears it out. It shows that there are lots of prejudiced bigots out there. You might be one of those who believe that ‘your side’ are all virtuous and pure-hearted. I don’t. Long years of Guardian reading have taught me that there are plenty of prejudiced bigots among the ‘progressives’ – prejudiced bigots who will convict the accused purely because he’s a man, just as there are prejudiced bigots who will acquit the accused purely because he’s a man.

          * As I’m sure you’re perfectly well aware, there are logical, reasonable, and justifiable reasons why a rape allegation is less likely to go to court than other cirmes. If you want to pretend not to be, I’ll happily spell it out for you.

      • Lorna Campbell

        Stonky, the best kind of trial for anyone accused of a criminal offence, but especially sexual offences, is a jury, believe me. That is why so many opt for one on the advice of their legal representatives. The standard of proof for criminal trials is very high.

        • Stonky

          Stonky, the best kind of trial for anyone accused of a criminal offence, but especially sexual offences, is a jury, believe me…

          Why do you imagine that you, personally, have some particularly valuable insight into this issue? There aren’t many certainties in life, but one thing I am certain of is that you have never once been an innocent man sitting in court accused of rape, discovering that he didn’t manage to convince the jury.

          Anyway, for what it’s worth, I believe you. I’m not sure that Ched Evans does though.

          • Lorna Campbell

            I don’t think anything of the kind, Stonky, and I stand by the statistics I offered. Nor do I doubt that you have a law degree. I don’t know you, so I must take your word. So much of what passes for truth is simply perception. I long ago came to the conclusion that women are more or less incapable of understanding what makes men tick in this area, and men certainly have no conception of how women behave under duress and embarrassment. Therein lies the rub. It is not for us to speculate, especially in these early stages, but allow the evidence to speak for itself, on both sides. I cannot say that I am personally happy with the fact that the public is kept out, but I can understand why that might be the case. Otherwise, I have no axe to grind. Have you?

    • Hamish McGlumpha

      The problem is that this is an EDINBURGH jury, likely to be full of anti- AS anti Independence types.

    • Cubby

      Craig, excellent article.

      It must be disheartening to read some of the comments below the line. Some people more interested in telling personal stories that have no connection to the points made in the article. Others that just don’t have the capacity to understand what you are saying or didn’t really read the article or don’t care but still comment anyway.

      I was not aware of the law relating to not being able to bring to your defence evidence of collusion by parties to fit Craig Murray up for stealing as per your example. I am truly shocked at this. So shocked I have to say are you 100 % sure about this. To my mind it seems to be against basic justice. If the Moorov Doctrine is ok then I do not see why the defence cannot put forward such evidence.

      As I have said before this whole business stinks and the smell is getting stronger and reaching more and more people.

      I have never spoken to a “soft” independence supporter. Never heard anyone describe themselves that way. How the hell does a “soft” independence supporter get to be in the heart of the SNP.

      • Neeps

        ‘Addy A-Game’ who was recently convicted on harassment charges complained too that the circumstances that led up to what he was accused (and convicted of) of (“the fit-up”) wasn’t allowed to be considered in court.

      • Lorna Campbell

        You don’t have to support any party to work for it, as far as I am aware, but it helps, I suppose, Cubby.

    • terence callachan

      I’m not happy that it’s behind closed doors
      Here we have someone who says they were raped and says they didn’t tell the police but did tell staff in SNP HQ and was happy for SNP HQ to use this accusation to stop AS returning to SNP

      Surely the judge did not think to themselves here is a woman who should be anonymous in court ?
      Really ?
      Bartering such an accusation to prevent AS returning to SNP doesn’t sound like someone who needs protecting sounds like people need protecting from her and those accomplices in SNP HQ

      • Lorna Campbell

        Probably because it is such a high-profile case, Mr Callachan. Also, very likely because alleged victims’ names have been released, spitefully, or to earn a sleazy buck, on social media, in the past. If rape/sexual assault trials become like circuses for public entertainment, we are more likely to see more trials in camera and without a jury. The conviction rate would start to rise rapidly. Ask any defence agent who specializes in rape cases which he/she would prefer for his/her client. Be careful what you wish for.

  • Willie

    Thank you Craig for setting out the account of what went on in court and of the background to Ms H and her allegations.

    We all appreciate that you have to be very careful in what you report lest it be alleged that you tried to influence the jury. No difficulty for the MSM however in what they report.

    But the comment that I chimed very much with is how there is every chance that the small coterie who run the SNP and who are cold on independence may now very soon be swept away. That time I think is coming, and the SNP and the wider Yes / AUOB will be the stronger for it.

    • Margaret

      Doesn’t sound like someone who didn’t say anything for years about the alleged assaults because she was too shocked.

      Along with the “I have a plan” the whole thing sounds premeditated and vengeful.

  • Margaret Eleftheriou

    A brilliantly articulated comment on the shameful travesty taking place in this trial. I fully agree with both the points you make and the quietly factual way you have presented them. To an outside observer like myself, it has been clearly visible for some years and the current FM does not prioritize independence for Scotland, but has an alternative gender agenda. I hypothesized that her reasoning must be along the lines of
    ‘Well, independence is going to come anyway sometime in the future, but we only have a small window for the gender identity issue to gain ground.’
    I am not an SNP member, never have been, but was willing to go along with the manifesto and have voted for them ever since 2014 (and made donations as well).
    I can’t therefore feel betrayed by a party of which I was not a member. But I did and do feel betrayed by the squandering of independence opportunities and incidentally, by Blackford’s weekly performances in Parliament until January 31st.
    Now is seems entirely plausible that the current situation was set up in order to discredit AS and to ensure that he could never again stand for political office s a member of the SNP. Not a shambles, because it has been very well organised, but a tragedy on several levels.
    I hope that you survive, Mr Murray. I truly commend your integrity, sense of purpose and sheer intellectual capacity to shine this factual light into very murky waters.

  • Mary

    What has been Nicola Sturgeon’s position on this? Has she been supportive of Salmond?

    I see that Bute House is owned by the National Trust of Scotland and not by the Scottish government.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bute_House

    I noticed that the front door knocker is made of brass.

    • craig Post author

      Mary,

      “What has been Nicola Sturgeon’s position on this?”
      Either your comprehension is not up to its usual sharp standard, or my writing skills are letting me down.

      • Gordie

        Aye, Craig. I am an SNP member and I can add up. I’ll wait a wee while yet for all the evidence and then I’ll read it all for myself when it becomes available.
        Thanks for your work. Another donation coming your way come pay day.

  • Ros Thorpe

    The Labour Party has the same issue. It was infiltrated by careerists with no particularly affinity to socialist policies. The liked of Chukka Umuna er al who have changed parties multiple times and only seem to emerge from the woodwork when there’s an election to mess up. If the SNP were full of strong advocates of independence and the Labour Party was full of strong advocates of socialism, they would be much smaller parties and less likely to gain power.

    • Drue

      I would guess a prerequisite for SNP selection is a strong view on independence for Scotland and support there of. With Labour, they had decades of trying to oust the tories from Westminster and it wasn’t working but at some point they still needed to run the country. Enter Blair and the centre ground stranglehold, that’s not much of a surprise tbh. However, without the inside understanding of what’s required to get on the ticket, my assumption is that a passionate view on the right of Scotland to decide its own fate is a must.

      It would appear that there are a good number of MP’s & MSP’s who go through the motions and are in principle not against Independence without being passionate for it. However, I’d like to think my membership fees are going to a party where gaining independence is still at its very core.

    • Bayard

      It is my experience in life that nearly all organisations that are started by enthusiasts end up being staffed by careerists, so long as there’s any money in it.

  • Patsy

    Thank you for this clear analysis. Please take good care of yourself while all this is going on. You and Grouse Beater are wonderful people.

  • Nelson

    Makes you wonder what else political party wonks are ‘sitting on’, for whatever reasons, and how institutionally ingrained that is. One thing is for sure: That behavior doesn’t look at all good, nowadays.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Careerist politicians are the cancer in all parties. The influx of fresh faces in the SNP’s Westminster ranks in 2015 was refreshing as it included individuals with a wide variety of real life experience. I was willing to give Mhairi Black the benefit of doubt because she was a “schemie” but at the end of the day she is a careerist hack. From school straight to Uni, a degree in politics and straight into full time (and comfortably remunerated) employ as a politician. Now she’s engaged full time in peddling the toxic trans cult agenda.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Careerist politicians are the cancer in all parties”.

      I had not realised there was any other kind of politician. Which makes sense, as it implies that all the parties are solid lumps of cancer.

      Among all the many weaknesses of modern “democracy”, the dominance of political parties is perhaps the worst. Read the following, and decide whether George Washington was right.

      “All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

      “However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion”.

      – George Washington, Farewell Address (1796)

    • N_

      A cabal and a coven. What could be more race-traitory? If Salmond wins this case, he isn’t going to return like Mao Zedong at the time of the Chinese “cultural revolution”. He won’t take back the Partei leadership and expose his opponents for having been enemy agents working for “Westminster” all along. That is a complete fantasy. His main aim is to keep his arse out of Barlinnie.

  • Patricia McCann

    Courage is never wasted. We have greater need of it now than ever, and yet it is in increasingly short supply, so I thank you for your commitment to investigative journalism Craig.
    I too think the SNP have become increasingly focussed on identity politics, the transactivist agenda and the manipulation of children’s education. This is also being orchestrated via the UN and developing countries are unable to receive foreign aid unless they accept the promoted sex education in their schools as part of the deal. See the schoolgatecampaign.org

  • N_

    Whether or not to put their boy on the witness stand will be a big decision by the defence. If he says “I’m always very respectful of women, and I’m the biggest woman respecter in town, especially when I’m drunk, as all my nationalist fans are aware”, my understanding is that about 3728 women could be called as witnesses to testify in rebuttal that the reality is a teensy bit to the contrary. He will have to be very careful. It won’t be surprise me if he does a Jeremy Thorpe and decides not to go into the witness box.

  • Stonky

    Clever work by the defence: don’t call her a slag; say she’s got motives…

    It wasn’t clever work by the defence. She herself in her own evidence said she had other motives.

    The more I read and think about what we’ve learned today the more I struggle to understand the basis on which some of these charges have been brought. We have four women who in their own evidence admit that they colluded, and in their own evidence admit that they had additional ulterior motives. I don’t see how any conviction on any of these charges could possible survive at appeal.

    By the way you’re mistaken about the charges. Women A, G, H and J represent 7 of the 13 charges. Take them out and there are only 6 left. These include “touching her leg over her clothing”, “touching her buttocks over her clothing”, and “touching her buttocks over her clothing and stroking her arms and hair.”

    And that assumes none of these other women, who haven’t given evidence yet, had any contact with anyone else. Which, given that we had that raddled old hag from Westminster beavering away in the background in contravention of every law and procedural rule under the sun, seems a bit of a stretch…

    • N_

      Thanks for this.

      I assumed from articles such as this that the “strong repercussions” text message sent by Woman H was produced by the defence and put to her in cross-examination.

      If AS gets off on the most serious charges, that doesn’t mean he will get off on the less serious assault ones.

      And that assumes none of these other women, who haven’t given evidence yet, had any contact with anyone else.

      Witness evidence doesn’t fall away just because the witness has had contact with another witness. If a woman is assaulted or raped or near-raped by a senior government minister, she is very likely to want to discuss with others whether or not she should report what has happened to her and the way she is going to frame it. Same applies in Scotland as in Qatar.

      Have Women A, G and J been called yet? But you are talking about taking out 7 charges, and writing as if a decision by the judge to allow them to stay in and go to the jury would be guaranteed to be overturned on appeal.

      We’ll see how the “coven” defence plays. It’s double-edged for sure.

      • Stonky

        I have no idea. But even at this early stage it looks like there may be absolutely no need.

        Have you read the charges by the way? No. 2 (Woman A) is a masterpiece of precision:

        “December 2010 or 2011: Sexual assault on woman A at the Ego nightclub in Edinburgh, touching her arms and hips over her clothes…”

        “Yes officer it was definitely December 2010. Or maybe it was definitely December 2011. Or definitely December 2010. Anyway it was definitely in a nightclub. And I can definitely remember him touching my arms and hips through my clothes…”

        As you say, “If AS gets off on the most serious charges, that doesn’t mean he will get off on the less serious assault ones…”

        It will be a great day for justice and the cause of women’s rights if AS goes down for sexual assault for touching a woman’s arms or her hips through her clothes. In December 2010. Or maybe December 2011. Who cares.

  • Billy Bones

    No wonder the SNP cabal of ‘High Heid Yins’ made the SNP Spring Conference one day only.

    Their cards are marked. We need to cleanse the Augean Stables of all the flat earth zealots who chant men are women, like Blackman, Sommerville, John NIcolson Alyn Smith (ye Gods, he was quickly manipulated by the ‘righteous cabal’ from the Brussels Gravy Train to the Westminster one). I had previously liked and respected all the foregoing but not when they support men over women.

    All these zealots who think women can have a penis need to go. It’s amazing just how many of them there are in the inner cabal circles. Is this why people like Russell are leaving the sinking ship?

    Will Scotland snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory yet again (by one the eve of Indy sacrificing it to Gender Recognition Act)? and just how many of these zealots who put mantras before indy, are actually working for the UK State? Well played MI5, if that is the case.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    If there’s a spectrum that runs:
    Career Civil servant – SPAD – Contractor (Andrew Sabisky was apparently) – SNP apparatchik
    Then where on the spectrum does Woman H sit?

  • Cubby

    Westminster created the UK by deploying its full range of the dark arts.

    Westminster is still employing its full range of the dark arts to try and save the UK. It will not succeed.

  • Lynn Fraser

    You are probably on to this already, but yesterdays Skys Q and A updates were a it more joined up than the BBC twiter feed. Also on First day of trial BBC first report on how the accusers would be referred too and whether civil servant, etc stated one accuser was an SNP politician….but I haven’t heard mention of it again.

    • craig Post author

      Lynn, no that’s potentially very helpful, as my main source, James Doleman, doesn’t seem to be there today. I haven’t see the Sky feed – can you give a link to it?

      The BBC twitter feed is next to useless this morning, now saying virtually nothing.

      • Hamish McGlumpha

        Craig,

        Grouse Beater reporting the the court is in open session now that Ms H has finished her ‘evidence’.

        Maybe you can report for yourself? Hope so.

        • Cubby

          Hamish McGlumpha

          As I understand it a witness for the prosecution is now up and the court is open to the public. Presumably these witnesses will have to be told not to divulge the identities of the complainants.

          Trying to keep the identities secret seems as if it will make giving evidence accurately difficult.

          Also it looks like it is going to opened up to the public and then closed again and then opened up again depending on who is giving evidence. So it would appear if Craig or a member of the public wants to attend they will have to hang around outside the court and expect to be in and out like a yo yo.

  • Peter

    “… a fairly small and unrepresentative group of careerists who have gained control of the party machinery, who never had Independence at heart and have been making a very fat living on the back of the efforts of a devoted membership.”

    ‘Centrism’, I believe it’s called, and (with the blessing of their respective establishments) appears to be the curse of centre-left parties across the whole of the West, from the Labour Party prior to Corbyn (and seemingly making a return in the guise of Kier Starmer, Blair V2); Greece prior to Syriza; and, of course, the ghastly pantomime currently taking place in the American Democratic Party.

  • Rod

    I am trying to properly understand Mr Salmond’s predicament.

    I know very little about the Scottish judicial system. About all I did know was that it could differ from the English system when it came to delivering verdicts and there was a third option open to jurors that they could determine an accusation as not proven. Is this still the case ?

    If so, regarding the official response from SNP HQ is that they will hold on to the allegations hoping they will “not need to deploy them.” would a verdict of not proven be sufficient deploy the allegations and to bar Mr Salmond from holding further Office or becoming an MP once more ?

    • N_

      Having two different verdicts for when the prosecution hasn’t proved its case is stupid. If the prosecution hasn’t proved its case then the defendant is legally innocent. You can’t have a third type of truth between legal truth and actual real truth.

      Whether he gets carted off in a wagon to a prison cell or walks out of the courthouse as free as a bird, Salmond won’t be holding public office or becoming an MP or MSP again.

      • Cubby

        N

        Based on incomplete knowledge or in your case probably very little knowledge you feel you can forecast the future. So are you Nostradamus or a fool?

    • Contrary

      Rod,

      The verdicts not proven and not guilty are the same. It’s a hangover from the old ‘proven’ and ‘not proven’ verdicts – the legal system did a kind of half hearted change – for no real reason I can see – to the commonly used ‘guilty’ and ‘not guilty’,,, but they couldn’t quite let go of all the provens. Just go back to the old way I’d say – the outcome is the same.

      Other things to look out for in Scots Law is the 15-person jury, and the majority decision on the verdict (they don’t have to all agree). The jury is picked randomly without any vetting process (after a pool of people having been picked for possible jury service that is).

      There are a few court procedure things that are a bit different (no opening statements and stuff).

      Another big difference is the need for corroboration of evidence – this means that people can’t just be jailed after confessing (a surprisingly common thing), there needs to be something to back it up. Corroboration can be from the accuser and then another witness (including the accused confessing), or forensic evidence, or maybe enough circumstantial evidence (say from expert witnesses). I think Japan is the only other country to have a similar thing.

      As to your last question – they shouldn’t, but of course the ‘not proven’ verdict in the minds of the public still seems to give room for doubt, so it could be used by the SNP politically if they were inclined to some serious back stabbing.

      • Cubby

        Contrary

        The Moorov doctrine is central to this case. Moorov rhymes with “more of”, the more the better chance of a conviction even if they are all without corroboration.

        • Contrary

          Yeah, they’ve had to relax the corroboration strictures to enable any kind of prosecution that usually comes down to one person’s word against another, and one answer (fudge) is Moorov,,,

          I read up about it a while ago, mainly in relation to domestic abuse cases – we used to allow a suspect to be held for 5 or 6 days in custody without charge, and apparently two or three days reflection on the seriousness of the crime & time for guilt to kick in, would end up in a confession (in domestic abuse, it’s a family member of course, so feelings of guilt are often a factor after the fact) and that would be the corroborating evidence. Human rights law says you can’t hold someone that long without charge though, and the law changed for that (24 hours or less? I can’t remember now) – so then our system has difficulty in coping for abuse cases, domestic or sexual. The discussion on dropping corroboration comes up regularly – at least in abuse cases – but for now there is just a fudge (relaxing the criteria of what constitutes corroboration). I don’t think corroboration should be dropped, but something official does need to be decided on soon for where it won’t work (assuming nothing much has changed since I last read about it). Proving a pattern of behaviour could be useful in some cases.

          • Cubby

            Tom Welsh

            It’s funny how in these witch trials they never wonder if the person they found guilty of being a witch doesn’t use their magic powers to escape. Like in Harty Potter – fly off on a broomstick.

  • Gordon Henderson

    That is indeed a revelation – stunning and incisive analysis.
    As many suspected it seems that carpetbaggers have taken a hold of the SNP hierarchy . Sad is not the word for it. (I am sad for Alex Salmonds predicament regardless of innocence or otherwise & the severity of the outcome; we live and die by our actions and words).
    I am angry with myself for ignoring the very obvious issues regarding management and oversight of the ‘Party of Independence’

    • Cubby

      Gordon Henderson

      When the facts and evidence available to you change only a fool would not consider revising their previously held views. I don’t think you are a fool.

      Base your views on the facts not what you would like it to be – and I certainly include myself in those who do not like what has been revealed over the last 18 months.

      The SNP is not the YES movement. A relatively small number of bad eggs will not derail the YES movement. The Britnats are deluded if they believe that.

  • Fredi

    Irrespective of the truth in this case regarding Salmond’s behavior some years ago. I don’t think the issue is simply about the machinations of female ‘careerist professional’ politicians destroying Salmond’s career. This is a

    At it’s core, there’s more going on here, this case reflects heavily on the a new role modern women in the west have gradually carved out for themselves in the last 40 ish years. (with male approval). The’ agendas related to gender and identity politics’ is exactly what’s going on here.

    Here a a few thought provoking reasons how this has come about.

    How Women Dismantle NATIONS * / & other UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOMkl3ApTK0

  • remember kronstadt

    I recall the shock of once feeling a footsie touch up under the dinner party table which left me naively frozen. In creative retrospect, I should have dropped a fork and returned the compliment more fully under the table but too late. Likewise when a megaphone was thrust into my hand and unexpectedly instructed to make a virgin political speech to a gathering outside a church. A ‘speech’ which comprised one coherent sentence followed by incoherent stuttering platitudes. Protesting too late after a surprise or offence raises issues of both culpability and credibility. As I mentioned previously, being offended is not necessarily an offence and being ‘frozen’ is not an excuse for a adult. What can’t be weaponised?

    • Tom Welsh

      “…being ‘frozen’ is not an excuse for a adult”.

      It all depends on what you mean by “an excuse”. If it means an explanation of what happened, I beg to disagree. Being frozen is something that happens disproportionately to certain personality types, and there is not much the person experiencing it can do.

      I have quite often been frozen. Once, entering the USA, I stepped up to be interviewed by the immigration fellow and got so tangled up trying to avoid anything that could be construed as remotely incriminating that I lost the ability to speak. The guy turned to my wife and asked her if I was able to talk – which would have amused anyone who knows me.

      On reflection, I realised how silly I had been. There is no form of words, no matter how brief, that could not be construed as incriminating.

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