Your Man Finally in the Public Gallery. The Alex Salmond Trial Day 8 215

After Day 8, there is a change in the balance of evidence. Previously a popular meme has been that either Alex Salmond must be lying, or 9 separate women must be lying. After today’s evidence we can say that either several of those women must be lying, or a variety of other direct witnesses, female and male, must be lying. There is of course an element of false dichotomy even in this statement of the case, as in a number of instances there is a fair degree of commonality from both prosecution and defence as to actions, but differences as to interpretation or to intent. I can also say without any fear of contradiction that many of the allegations would not meet the definition of a sexual assault as commonly understood by the person in the street. That is not to say they cannot meet a legal definition. There I will bow to the judge – who I continue to find very fair.

The first witness today was Ms Samantha Barber, a company director. She had known Alex Salmond since 1994 when she was working for the SNP as a research assistant for the Euro elections. She had thereafter been employed by the European Parliament, and in 2007 become the Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community, a post she still held in 2014. She is now a director of several companies.

In the seven years Alex Salmond was First Minister she had several times been a guest at Bute House for dinner. She had a positive and respectful relationship with Alex Salmond but they were not personal friends outside of business.

She had been a personal friend of Ms H, the accuser who alleged attempted rape, for some years by 2014. They remain friends. She had been invited to the evening reception of Ms H’s wedding. She testified she is also a friend of Ms H’s current husband.

Ms H had telephoned her to invite her to the dinner at Bute house with the (not to be named) actor on 13 June 2014. Ms H in inviting her had stated she (Ms H) was not able to be there. In fact Ms H had indeed not been at the dinner. Ms Barber had arrived that evening at around 7pm. She had been shown up to the drawing room. The actor was already there and they had chatted together, just the two of them, until about 7.15pm when Alex Salmond had joined them. The three of them had dinner together. It was friendly and conivivial. At first the actor’s career had been discussed and then Scottish independence. Nobody else was there. Asked if any private secretaries had been in and out during dinner, Ms Barber replied not to her recollection. Nobody interrupted them

One bottle of wine was served during dinner. She had left after dinner around 9 and the actor had stayed on as Alex Salmond offered to show him around the Cabinet Room.

Defence Counsel Shelagh McCall QC asked her if Ms H had been there? No. Did you see her at any point during the evening? No.

[Ms H had claimed she was at this dinner and the attempted rape occurred afterwards. Alex Salmond had testified Ms H was not there at all. A video police interview with the actor had tended to support the idea Ms H, or another similar woman, was there and they were four at dinner.]

Prosecution counsel Alex Prentice then cross-examined Ms Barber. He asked whether she had received a message from the police on 29 January. She replied yes she had, and called them back on 3 February. Prentice asked whether they had then told her they wanted a statement, and whether she had replied she needed to take advice first. Ms Barber agreed.

Prentice asked why she would need legal advice to give a statement to police. Ms Barber replied she had never been involved in any judicial matter and wanted to understand the process she was getting into before she did anything. She had not said she wanted legal advice first, just advice.

Prentice asked again “why would you need legal advice before talking to the police”? Ms Barber again replied she wanted to understand the process she was getting into.

Prentice asked again, twice more, “why would you need legal advice before talking to the police?”. He got the same answer each time. You will recognise from yesterday’s report of his cross-examination of Alex Salmond, that it is a rhetorical trick of Prentice, to constantly repeat the same question in order to throw an unreasoned suspicion on the veracity of the answer. On this occasion he was stopped by the judge, who had enough.

Lady Dorrian pointedly asked him “Is a citizen not entitled to take advice, Mr Prentice?”, in a Maggie Smith tone of contempt.

Prentice then asked whether Ms Barber had already been at another Bute House dinner in May. Ms Barber replied not that she could recall. Prentice then asserted that the dinner on 13 June was with the actor, Ms H, and Alex Salmond. Ms Barber replied no, she genuinely had no recollection at all of Ms H being there.

The defence counsel Shelagh McCall QC then resumed questions. She asked if the police had put to Ms Barber that Ms H was there. Ms Barber replied that they had, and she had told them exactly what she had told the defence and now told the court, that Ms H had not been there.

The next witness was Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who swore on the Koran. She had joined the SNP in 2000 and been appointed national Women and Equalities Convenor in 2011. From 2015 to 2017 she was MP for the Ochil Hills.

Shelagh McCall QC asked if she knew Ms H. She replied for some years, and more frequently from 2012. Ms H had been involved in the Yes campaign. They had a good relationship, and in 2014 Ms H had asked her advice on standing for the SNP national executive committee.

McCall asked her if she remembered the date of the 13 June 2014 dinner. Tasmina responded yes, that was the day her father had died. She had received a message he was taken very ill that morning and had set off for London. At Carlisle they learnt he had died. (At this point the witness broke into tears.)

Before leaving Scotland with her husband she had messaged the First Minister’s office to say she would not be able to attend the Scottish women’s international football match the next day. (The point of this evidence is it contradicts Ms H’s evidence of her interaction with Ms Ahmed-Sheikh over the football.)

McCall led the witness on to June 2015 when Ms H had contacted her about becoming the SNP candidate for an Aberdeenshire constituency. Ms Ahmed-Sheikh confirmed that in June 2015 she had received a text from Ms H about the chances of Alex Salmond endorsing her, including the phrase “it would be great to be working with Alex again”.

Later Ms H discovered Salmond would not support her. Later texts read “Alex doesn’t think there is any chance for me against (name withheld)”, and then that she was withdrawing from the race and “Alex has it all to explain for”, alleging that Salmond had found another candidate to stand against her.

McCall then led Ms Ahmed-Sheikh to the occasion of the Stirling Castle dinner for the Council of Economic Advisers and the accusation of Ms E that Salmond had grabbed her buttock during a photoshoot. Ms Ahmed-Sheikh said the dinner had been very convivial, with a good atmosphere and speeches. Afterwards the guests had all gone onto the parapet in groups to have their photo taken with the First Minister with the Lion Rampant flag. Space was limited on the parapet so it was done in small groups. Ms Ahmed-Sheikh had been in the same small group as Ms E. She had her photo taken with the First Minister immediately before Ms E. Afterwards she had watched Ms E have her photo taken as the group all waited for each other and left together. This was just politeness.
Shelagh McCall asked a series of questions:
Did you see Alex Salmond insist Ms E have her photo taken? No.
Did you witness any discomfort from Ms E? No.
Did you see anything untoward? No.
[Ms E has accused Alex Salmond of grabbing her buttocks during the photoshoot.]

The prosecution asked no questions of Ms Ahmed-Sheikh.

The next defence witness was Fergus Mutch. He had worked from 2012 as a parliamentary constituency support worker for Alex Salmond, becoming office manager there in 2013 and in November 2015 head of communications and research for the SNP. He had first met Ms H in 2013 during the Yes campaign. In May and June 2015 he had dealt with her during the constituency selection process. In June 2015 she had sent him an email about wanting to become the candidate and asked him to set up a meeting with Alex Salmond. He had forwarded it on to Salmond.

Asked by Shelagh McCall if Alex Salmond had a preferred candidate, Mutch replied that Salmond had thought there were better, more local, candidates than Ms H. In June and July of 2015 Ms H had become well aware that was Mr Salmond’s view.

Shelagh McCall then turned to the accusation of Ms F, that she had been indecently assaulted by Alex Salmond in the early hours of 10/11 September 2014. Mr Mutch testified that during the 2014 referendum campaign both he and Ms F had accompanied Alex Salmond on tours, sometimes separately and sometimes together. On 12 September they had all three travelled by helicopter. He was shown a twitter post by Ms F made on 12 September at 6.45pm stating “extraordinary day in Indyref to Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Perth”. Mr Mutch said they had all been together from about 9am until about 9pm on the helicopter tour finishing at Gleneagles where they stayed the night.

Shelagh McCall QC asked how Ms F seemed that 12 September: “on good form, professional, buoyant”. How had she interacted with Alex Salmond “relaxed, normal, sitting next to him in the helicopter”.

Shelagh McCall then led Mr Mutch to February 2015, when he was working on a book about the referendum campaign. Ms F had sent him her campaign diary as source material. Ms F’s diary entry for 11 September (immediately following the alleged assault) read:
“Up at 7am. Heard Alex Salmond on Good Morning Scotland. Began making my way to International Conference Centre. Having to stand in the hot hall handing the microphone to journalists taking its toll, particularly after the whisky the night before. By contrast Alex Salmond is sharp in response to the questions, particularly from Nick Robinson.”

The prosecution had no questions for Mr Mutch.

The next defence witness was Mr Kirk Torrance. He had been a new media specialist for the SNP from 2009 to 2011 and had been brought in by them again for the referendum campaign. He testified that he had been in Bute House on several occasions, and the first time he had been there Alex Salmond had given a tour of the building and explained the history, paintings and so on. He had seen Alex Salmond do the same with other visitors.

He testified he had known Ms F since 2010. He well remembered the events of 10 September 2014 and the huge effect on the referendum campaign of the Royal Bank of Scotland announcement about moving its head office to England. The following day he had been inside SNP party headquarters watching the event from the International Conference Centre on live TV. After this Ms F had come in to SNP HQ and he had seen her in the kitchen at lunchtime. She had been regaling the HQ staff, especially the female staff, with the funny story that Alex Salmond had told her the previous evening about the well known political journalist who had passed out at Bute House after a sexual encounter.

Ms McCall asked whether she had appeared upset by the story [as Ms F and prosecution had claimed – see yesterday’s report]. Mr Torrance replied no, quite the opposite. She was enjoying retelling it, particularly to the female staff. Ms McCall asked whether the occasion could be interpreted as Ms F trying to process and make sense of an unfortunate event? No, replied Mr Torrance.

The next defence witness was Karen Watt, currently Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council for Further and Higher Education. From 2009 to 2012 she had been Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister.

Defence QC Gordon Jackson asked what Alex Salmond had been like as a boss. She replied working for him had been both a privilege and a penance. It has been exciting, fast paced, stressful and very demanding. Salmond could personally be demanding, fierce, fun and good company.

Jackson asked about Ms D. Ms Watt replied Ms D was very smart and got things done. Alex Salmond had rated her highly. Had Ms D enjoyed her time in the Private Office? Yes. Led by Jackson, Ms Watt explained that she would normally go on overseas visits with the First Minister but had not done so on the China trip as she was leaving the office shortly thereafter. The civil service contingent had thus been led by Donald Cameron, principal private secretary to Leslie Evans, head of the Scottish Civil Service. There had been a formal debrief meeting after the visit, at which nothing exceptional happened.

A few days later Donald Cameron had told her that he had witnessed an event in a lift in China where Alex Salmond had attempted to touch Ms D’s hair. He had seemed concerned but Ms Watt had not known what to make of it. The two of them had therefore held a meeting with Ms D. At the meeting Ms D had stated that the event was nothing that had concerned her. Ms Watt had viewed this as the end of the matter.

Ms Watt was then asked about Ms B. She said that Ms B was good at her job, smart and professional. She managed other staff on the policy side. Gordon Jackson asked her if she remembered the matter of the Jack Vettriano Christmas card.
Had she shared the view that the card was inappropriate? Yes she had.
Did she remember it being discussed in the office? Yes she did.
Had Ms B said anything to her about a sexual encounter with Alex Salmond in relation to the painting? Ms Watt replied she could not recall such a thing.
Did she tell you Alex Salmond had repeatedly grabbed her wrists? I do not remember any such conversation.
Did she tell you about anything of a sexual nature with Alex Salmond? No.
[Ms Watt was Ms B’s manager. Ms B had testified she had reported the alleged incident to Ms Watt.]

There were no questions to Ms Watt from the prosecution.

The next defence witness was Geoff Aberdein. He had been Chief of Staff to Alex Salmond from 2011 to 2014. He had first started working for him in 2004. He testified that Alex Salmond was a firm but fair boss. Work had been very demanding. Salmond had high standards, did not mince his words but welcomed people giving the same back to him. Their relationship was purely professional – they were not friends outside working hours.

In 2013 Salmond’s Principal Private Secretary had told him about the incident with Ms F. He had never been aware of any other sexual allegation regarding Alex Salmond. Salmond had taken responsibility and apologised. Ms F had been offered the chance to leave Private Office for another civil service job, but had declined. In spring of 2014 Griffin had been on a trip with Salmond and Miss F together, which had been normal.

On 8 to 9 March 2018 Ms A had contacted him to say she was involved in a process of looking at complaints about Alex Salmond. He had spoken to Kevin Pringle and Duncan Hamilton by conference call to discuss this. On 29 March 2018 he had held a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament to discuss this. On 2 April he had attended a further meeting in Sturgeon’s home. In none of these contacts did Ms A reveal she was personally making allegations of abuse. Gordon Jackson asked whether there was even the slightest hint that Ms A was personally making a complaint? No, never.

There were no questions for Mr Aberdein from the prosecution.

The next defence witness was Ms Lorraine Kaye. A civil servant for 21 years, she had been deputy private secretary to Alex Salmond under three successive principal private secretaries. She stated that working in the Private Office was very demanding, the hours were incredibly long. You might start at 7am and then not leave Bute House until after midnight after dealing with the ministerial box and correspondence. You could be working on speeches and papers there until the early hours. She had personally done this.

Gordon Jackson asked if there had ever been a policy of female civil servants not being alone in the evening at Bute House with Alex Salmond. Ms Kaye replied no, she had frequently been there alone herself throughout. She had loved the job – it was the highlight of her career.

Asked about Alex Salmond as a boss, Ms Kaye said he was driven, committed and set high standards for himself and for everybody else. He was old-fashioned. He had always opened the door for her and other women and ushered them in, he would insist even junior civil servants be seated properly at table when working over meals. Gordon Jackson asked if Salmond was tactile? Yes, he was always hugging and kissing and posing for selfies with people.

Jackson said there was a difference between being tactile and over the top. Was he ever out of order? Not that I saw, replied Ms Kaye.
You were there sometimes very late? Yes, we could come back to Bute House after a dinner or function after 11pm and still have to finish papers and correspondence.
Was there ever any policy not to be alone there with Mr Salmond?
No. I was, frequently.

Gordon Jackson asked about Ms D. Had she ever tugged her hair? Ms Kaye said yes she had. Ms D had remarkable tight ringlets of which Ms Kaye laughed she was very jealous. People tugged them. This may sound surprising but the atmosphere in the Private Office was that they were all very close. They spent much more time with each other than with their own family and friends.
You were never uncomfortable around Mr Salmond? No.
Would you attend dinners at Bute House sometimes? Yes, that was part of the job.

There were no questions from the prosecution for Ms Kaye.

The next defence witness was Alexander Anderson. He had worked for Alex Salmond in various capacities from 1998 to 2016. From 2012 he had been a SPAD to the First Minister covering external policy, and had responsibility for speeches, correspondence and diary. He said that Salmond could be a demanding boss, but also encouraging and inspiring.

In 2008 Anderson had been working on press in the Glasgow East by-election campaign office. Alex Salmond arrived several times, always with an entourage, and would always be straight out campaigning with his entourage and the candidate. He had seen no interactions between Salmond and Ms A in the campaign offices.

The atmosphere in Salmond’s Private Office had been intense. It would be fair to call it a family atmosphere. It was very hard working but also light-hearted and they had socialised. Salmond was a tactile person. He would always take people’s hand on the street and hug people at bus stops or in businesses as he campaigned. Gordon Jackson asked if he saw a clear line between that and inappropriate sexuality? Absolutely.

Had Anderson seen Salmond together with Ms D? Yes. They appeared to have a great relationship. Ms D was very smart, a good colleague and a bubbly personality. Gordon Jackson asked if Anderson knew Ms F. Yes, he replied. Had he seen her in stockinged feet? Yes, Anderson replied, this appeared to be her habit at work. [This confirms Salmond’s account and contradicts Ms D’s account of how she came to have her shoes off.]

Gordon Jackson then led on to Ms E. Had Mr Anderson been at the Stirling Castle dinner, and had he been one of those photographed with Alex Salmond on the ramparts? Yes, replied Anderson, they had all had photos taken because it was the first time in 300 years the lion rampant had flown at Stirling castle. There had been a professional photographer there to take the photos.
Were you there when Ms E was photographed? Yes, I was on the ramparts with her.
Did you see anything inappropriate? No.
Did you witness any reluctance on her part? Did you hear her say anything? No.

The prosecution had no questions for Mr Anderson.

The final witness of the day was Ms Ann Harvey, who worked in the SNP whips’ office at Westminster from 2006-9 and 2011 to present. She had been present at the Glasgow East by-election. In response to a question from Gordon Jackson, she replied that she had witnessed nothing inappropriate there when Alex Salmond visited.

Gordon Jackson asked whether she had more recently been asked anything relevant? Ms Harvey replied that on 31 October 2017 she had received a series of 16 text messages to her private number asking for information and whether she could disclose anything about the past. Gordon Jackson asked what the messages said specifically and who they were from.

At this point, Alex Prentice rose for the prosecution and objected to this line of questioning. The jury was dismissed and a legal argument was held on the admissibility of this information. I am not allowed to report the legal discussion. In the end the judge ruled the evidence inadmissible and Ms Harvey was dismissed.

That concluded the day’s proceedings. It was a day on which defence witnesses directly contradicted evidence from the accusers on a number of key points, most importantly but by no means solely on the question of whether Ms H was present at all at the event where she claimed to have been the victim of attempted rape. It was also given in evidence that people had not reported incidents they said they had reported, and there was no civil service policy against women working alone in the evening with Alex Salmond – which claim had been one of the MSM’s most lurid headlines.

MSM reporting I have seen to date has not reported today’s proceedings fairly. For example in reporting that Ms Barber had testified Ms H was not at the dinner, the media has not generally reported the key facts that Ms Barber knew Ms H very well and the dinner was just for three people.

It is interesting that the prosecution chose not to cross examine the defence witnesses, except in the case of Ms Barber who was subjected more to innuendo than to cross-examination and who gained the protection of the judge. I am very constrained by what I can legally comment at present, so let us leave it there for the day.

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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215 thoughts on “Your Man Finally in the Public Gallery. The Alex Salmond Trial Day 8

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  • andyoldlabour

    Thank you so much Craig, for documenting this in such a thorough and particularly careful way. To me, this doesn’t seem to be a trial, it is more like an extravagant fishing trip and they haven’t had any bites yet. Long may their nets remain empty.

  • [Dr] David Stevenson

    Concerning the statement that the Lion Rampant had not flown at Stirling Castle for 300 years, The late Wendy Wood had led a group from a Bannockburn Commemoration up to the castle in the 1930s [?1934?], removed the Union Jack and replaced it with a Lion Rampant. Her memoirs give details.

  • Stonky

    Seems from the Grousebeater coverage that the defence case has ended:

    Speeches next, although Judge Lady Dorrian wants to discuss matters with the two legal teams first…

    Discussing the matter of “no case to answer” perhaps?

    • Margaret

      Yes. I don’t recall an in chambers discussion between the judge and the legal representatives at the High Court rape trial where I was a jury member. Went straight from the final witness to the prosecution/defence speeches (after a brief intermission to put up a lectern next to the jury box).

      I don’t know if it is usual – maybe she just wants to say “look, keep it civil, chaps, and stay on point”.

    • Muscleguy

      I think it would be unusual for such a move to come from the presiding judge. Such an application would come from the defence or very occasionally the fiscal realising their case was a bogie.

      The judge doing it without formal open defence submissions would open it up to appeal.

      Also everyone seems happy to leave it up to the common sense of the jury. All the no questions of defence witnesses shooting your case down in flames one point at a time cannot be a good look.

      If the defence had been able to do that in the case I was on a jury for it would have been very different. We were promised on piece of evidence which did not eventuate. We had a witness remark on the issue anyway, to the defence’s detriment.

      I’m not saying it would never happen but it seems unlikely.

      I learned that how a jury sees things may very well not be how we or those in the public gallery see it. Juries develop a dynamic. Ours was for a full week and we did. We cannot and should not be flies on the wall of the jury room but I wouldn’t be disheartened.

      If the fiscal feels their case has been shredded they might throw in the towel. If that hasn’t happened . . .

      • fwl

        Interesting comment MG about juries developing a dynamic. I suspect your right. Fascinating the extent to which success might in part depend upon counsel’s ability to intuit and connect with that dynamic without appearing to.

  • N_

    I read (and yes, I think it was in a newspaper distributed throughout the whole of Britain, and in which the whole of Britain is considered as the home area, so it would be classed as “English colonial and therefore a conduit for fake news about the heroically nationalistic Scottish government who always try to minimise their expenses” by lunatics) that there are RESIDENCES (as well as offices) used by the First Minister at Bute House, in the Holyrood Parliament, and in St Andrew’s House.

    Sorry – I looked for the link just now but couldn’t find it, but I am reporting it accurately because this kind of thing sticks in the mind. If there is good reason to think the assertion itself is inaccurate, I’d be interested to hear it. We know there’s a residence at Bute House, so it’s only the other two that need to be considered.

    Any news yet on whether Alex Salmond bought all of his own maotai booze when he was First Minister? It seems to START at around £100 a bottle.

    • craig Post author

      It is inaccurate. The evidence given on court – as I reported – was that there are offices in St Andrews Square, Bute House and the Holyrood Parliament. That is true. The only residence of the First Minister is an apartment in Bute House. The others are offices with no residential accommodation.
      I accept you may have read otherwise in the MSM, but that was wrong.

    • Cubby

      The British Nationalist Pyramid of Lies

      At the top of the pyramid are those who produce the lies.

      The next layer are those bright enough to realise they are lies but are more than happy to go along with them because they wish they were true.

      The next layer and by far the largest are the British Nationalists who believe the lies 100% to be true.

      What layer are you in N?

    • Stonky

      Just as well Marx and Lenin didn’t model themselves on you N. Otherwise Das Kapital would have been four pages long and the rest of it would have been doodles of bare bottoms. Lenin would have spent his life shouting “Yah yah big fat smelly boots” at Cossacks in a voice so loud nobody could hear him, and Russia would still be ruled by the Czars…

  • Bentley

    Thank you Craig,

    This has been much more objectively informative than in the media where there has been apparent presumption. I await with interest the verdict, I have my own thoughts we’ll see if they coincide.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Not questioning defence witnesses suggests that the Prosecution had no problems with their testimony. After all, there may well be manty occasions when nothing untoward did happen, so unless the witness was commenting specifically in contradictory terms to specific events and times highlighted by prosecution witnesses, Counsel may have felt it unproductive to get the jury’s back up for the sake of it.

    Reading your blogs, I must say it is very difficult to judge what the truth is or might be. Some of the prosecution testimony seems far-fetched, but quite frankly I doubt that anyone wily enough to become First Minister would ever be so crassly idiotic as to openly molest a woman with witnesses present, so inevitably you are going to have judge the word of female witnesses against that of the Defendant.

    The whole thing seems a bit too co-ordinated to me, but it is of course possible that ‘trial by numbers’ may be more effective than one actual justifiable offence.

    Not feeling close enough to the action to feel confident about the underling reality, other than the SNP now has a strong caucus of very ambitious, very ruthless, very prominent women.

    • Alisdair Mc

      “No t feeling close enough to the action to feel confident about the underling reality, other than the SNP now has a strong caucus of very ambitious, very ruthless, very prominent women”
      But don’t forget the SNP need the support of the public to survive..

  • Tony M

    O/T Let’s have more history. Isn’t the Lion Rampant though a royalist thing, flown in Scotland wherever Brenda lays her hat/crown? I certainly wouldn’t want even a tartan Scottish Monarchy in any case, if that’s the origin of it.

    Looks like we’ve passed peak Corona Virus media hype, back to royalty, football, football and more football. WGAF. And why is the BBC news Jockland coming ever more to consist of one well-vetted BBC employee interviewing another well-vetted BBC employee. They’re so up their own arses, yesterday it was thought to be news that filming of their own soap operas might be affected. No wonder it’s called BBC News.

    • Shatnersrug

      The lion rampant is the Powerful Scots crown, the Unicorn is the magnanimous England. Never have their been 2 more fictitious creatures!

    • James Caithness

      The Lion Rampant was Robert the Bruce’s Standard at the Battle of Bannockburn. Bruce had it on his shield and chest.

      The Three Lions was the standard flown by Edward II at the Battle.

      • andyoldlabour

        The three lions passant flag, was introduced by the Plantagenets in 1154, by Henry 2nd.

      • Graeme

        The Lion Rampant is the monarchs personal standard, the King of Scots used to have a wild boar as his personal standard but I think it was King William who adopted the Lion rampant, hence him being known as William “The Lion”…..the Lion rampant has been has been the royal standard of Scots monarchs ever since.

  • Frank mckenna

    Non challenging defence witnesses, then badgering the most potent witnesses, this stinks of an empty fish box.
    The hope that the smell will stick in the nostrils of the public.
    A good mans name and reputation is being maligned for political point scoring and no less.
    There will have to be retribution for this act of scurrilous malignancy.

    • David Rodgers

      Will be interesting a the very least to see what happens in the SNP afterwards.

  • name required

    Craig, if i may be so bold.

    you are a perfectly flawed human being.

    your work is peerless and your effort tireless.

    be sure to look after yourself and i shall endeavor to share a drink with you at the next available ‘rabbit’

      • name required

        we would need a camp fire and a nice malt to discuss this further.
        semantics are the food of thought (imho)

          • name required

            tis the journey and not the destination that is important

            the sore head only arrives if you stop drinking before the dawn …

            you also seem to imply a single bottle, its a single malt i refer to !

  • Stonky

    For thsoe who don’t follow Twitter Craig has now been excluded form the Court on a motion by the prosecution

    • Republicofscotland

      Looks like Lady Dorrian isn’t that friendly afterall, besides no one with a vested interest in seeing Salmond go down wants to read unbias and fair reporting from Craig.

      • paul

        If the prosecution has made a valid request, the judge will not want to show favour.

      • Arby

        Indeed, I did get the impression that Craig was being extremely fine with his positive comments regarding her.

  • Republicofscotland

    Thank you Craig for relaying the days events to us, its sounds as though the prosecutions case is unravelling. Its disconcerting that Alex Salmond could lose his liberty, and have his political come back destroyed permanently (Which I hope he persues) on the strength of such allegations.

    On a general matter of law, which is nothing to do with the case, are unproven allegations particularly in a solemn court cases punishable?

  • Tony M

    I hope the prosecution and courtroom have enough bog-rolls if they’re going to pass many more such motions.

    I’m concerned about the shortages of toilet rolls, I usually buy in bulk anyway, and the need to do so coincides with this panic-buying, the shelves really are bare in several stores. Kitchen-roll, being snapped too, is not going to break down as easily as toilet-roll in the drains, leading to choked sewers and the foulest waste matter and waste-water backing up, which isn’t a healthy prospect.

    Could this be an attempt by the dead-tree gutter press to revive their moribund sales. I’d rather use dock-leaves than give them a ha’penny.

    They do pot-noodles at St. Leonard’s nick, Craig, but if you don’t like chicken and mushroom, you’re out of luck.

  • nevermind

    Just a rhetorical question Craig. Have you stopped posting your articles on FB?

      • nevermind

        Thank you Craig, that is exactly what I thought, the more footing they loose the more they are clamping down and controlling the narrative.
        This trial is not going the way the string pullers want it to.
        Whoever is hanging on their strings is becoming more obvious by the day.
        Thanks again for your service to Scotland.

      • Willie B

        Have you tried the MeWe social network Craig, doesn’t have the same problems as facebook

  • Rod

    BBC Radio 4, 5pm news headlines this afternoon gave a brief account of today’s Prosecution’s case in the Alex Salmond trial without a single mention of what the Defence had to say. Such blatantly biased reporting, but what else would one expect.

    • Republicofscotland

      I can do better than that the ultra unionist STV news on their 6pm flagship programme, going with the prosecution describes Alex Salmond as a sexual predator.

    • Alan

      there might be an innocent explanation though in that they are leaving out the defence case today because that is scheduled to be summed up tomorrow

      • Cubby


        “Innocent explanation”. 🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑

        There is an explanation and there is nothing innocent about it.

  • Jason Smoothpiece

    Thank you for the reportage Craig. This is an odd case, we of course can say little at this point until the trial concludes, however I suspect there will be much to say at the conclusion.

    I think I will say no more than it’s an odd case.

  • Big Al

    Well done and thanks Craig you are our eyes and ears at this nonsense of a trial. We don’t get the in-depth account from the likes of the so-called Scottish media.The sooner Alex Salmond is free from this nonsense and back where he belongs(Scotlands First minister) the better. Nicky Sturgeon is doing more damage to the independence movement with her gender equality nonsense

  • Alan

    110 comments have been entered before mine so apologies if I am repeating what someone else has already said but I was not surprised that the defence could call witnesses to say that they had not witnessed an assault / grope/ whatever. Surely the allegation is that these actions were done surreptitiously and on the sly as it were and therefore hidden in “plain sight”? So I don’t think these witnesses really have torpedoed the prosecution case.

    (I’m not a lawyer nor have ever served on a jury)

    • Margaret

      But most if not all were at events attended by other witnesses. And those witnesses could not recall that behaviour occurring.

      Neither did the prosecution bother to cross examine them on their testimony, so the prosecution must have accepted the testimony at face value.

  • Contrary

    I was just reading Doleman’s report there in the Byline Times, he covered the prosecution summing up, and the part:

    “The QC asked the jury if this would not lead to the danger that someone would not just ask the celebrity who was there – and the police did, referring them to evidence that they had heard from the celebrity that there had been someone matching the woman’s description in Bute House that night.”

    And I was thinking – why only ‘matching the woman’s description’? Now, obviously he might not totally recognise the person again, but was he not at least shown a few pictures of different women, including the two that claim to have been the only one there, just to clear this up? Descriptions can be awkward things, and not very definitive. I don’t know if the two women are similar or look very unlike each other, but either he’s a reliable witness or not. Why didn’t defence pursue this? Well, maybe because the recall of the celebrity had already been tainted by being given a description I suppose – I don’t know this of course, but it is very easy to be accidentally suggestive when interviewing witnesses.

  • Eric McCoo

    I assume he’s guilty and the whole thing was covered up to protect the SNP. Even if this prosecution has been orchestrated by the British state. Why did these women take so long to come forward is the elephant sized question in this room. Something very unusual has taken place.

    I have a bias. I despise the SNP for two reasons.Firstly their intimate connection to Rupert Murdoch and The Sun. Secondly their anti-democratic denial of the result of two referendums. It was when Sturgeon claimed Scotland could stay in the EU that I got actually angry. I despise Sturgeon’s SNP (and all that entails) might be closer to the truth. Thanks in large measure to Craig’s excellent exposition of the difference between Salmond and Sturgeon the other day.

    I am Scottish and have never been interested in Scottish independence (North Sea oil !). However, it wouldn’t have bothered me in the slightest if Scotland had become independent so I’m no unionist either.

      • Penguin

        I saw the entire Leveson enquiry and you are just another lying yoon shitebag.

        The FM pointed out that the terms of his employment obliged him to support a deal which would have led to thousands of jobs being set up in Scotland. I suspect you are just another drone that thinks Murdoch runs the government. I’ve seen you claim that Murdoch is a major donor to the SNP, despite never having given them a penny. Or claim that Murdoch supports the SNP, he doesn’t. That he supports Independence, He doesn’t.

        Just fuck off with the Murdoch bogeyman shite.

        And the Scottish Sun never ran the Hillsborough story. Liverpool fans were killed by their own kind. Ordinary people buy and read the Sun of their own free will. They don’t read the tax evading guardian and owen jones.

  • Mist001

    To be clear, I never believed the charges against Alex Salmond from the outset and having followed the reports on this blog, that only reinforces my view…


    If the case is thrown out, charges are dropped, Alex is found not guilty, whatever, then this would give him carte blanche to behave like a sexual predator, because who would believe any future complainants or allegations, and what could they do about it?

    To me, this doesn’t bode well for Alex.

    • nevermind

      If you are incourt and accused by multiple people, for example the police, who corraborated their notebooks a la Hillsborough, and are found not guilty, you would equally be tarnished by being pushed through the millstones of justice, regardless.
      To say that you then had a carte blanche is pure, inconsequential supposition, Mist 001.

    • terence callachan

      Mist001… don’t be stupid …people don’t go out and commit crimes that they have just been found by a court to be not guilty of doing just in the hope that the court might judge second time around that they must be innocent because they were innocent last time !!

  • Tony M

    Meanwhile every civil liberty we thought we had (we didn’t) vanishes. Arbitrary arrest and detention, BTDTBTTS. On suspicion of having ‘anti-bodies’, or of looking a bit peaky, looking or being different, having opinions, asserting your or your loved-ones ‘rights’, a round-up up of the usual suspects. And the denizens of that London, Londoners not one of them, in vox-pops think to a (wo)man it doesn’t go even half far enough. Shoot ’em on the spot, smokers too, asthmatics, looking or sounding foreign or not looking or sounding foreign enough. It’s a cull folks, more will be harmed, killed, or their lives wrecked, by the measured measures than by the thing itself, whatever it is. The underlying issue is the long overdue economic collapse. Opportunites for plunder abroad, the easy-pickings gone; what economy there is consisting of coffee-shops, nail-bars and pre-paid funeral plans. An infantilised people that can no longer function without their security-blanket mobile-devices. A mass-media that addresses everyone as if they were toddlers. And if anyone mentions gaia, or even Gaia, they should deservingly be bracketed with religious loonies, for believing in the supernatural.

    quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    • Margaret

      I wonder why Johnson states today that he thinks the Coronavirus crisis tide will turn in 12 weeks, whilst seeking emergency powers for two years.

          • nevermind

            How about ‘ he is scared’ Margaret. Firstly he depends on a high risk age group to get re elected, secondly 20.000 policemen and 20.000 armed forces personnel are no match for a very angry and confused public. Hence the 2 year security, he can shoot his own poor people if he likes, but 40,000 versus millions of people who had the scales ripped of their eyes by this hobnail cabinet, is no match.

    • Watt

      For measured articles try off- Blows the coroney baloney bug right out of the water, with citations all round.

  • Cubby

    STV News

    More disgraceful reporting from the British Media. For the last few days when defence has been putting forward its case very little reporting of the defence details but a continual repeating of the charges. Today was probably about every word of Prentices summing up splattered in block capitals across the screen. In fact if you followed the broadcasts this week you would think Salmond had put forward no defence at all. Disgraceful Reporting but not a surprise.

    No democracy in Scotland as long as the media is controlled by a foreign country.

    The tried and tested Britnat media. Tried and tested to lie and be biased.

    • Margaret

      From what I read of the prosecutor’s summing up – and therefore it was a second hand account, I emphasise, I’m telling you my interpretation of what I read in the BBC reporter’s tweets – he sounded like he was appealing to the emotions of the jury, rather than just putting forward an objective summary of the evidence that supported the charges. To paraphrase, it seemed to go “these poor, helpless, defenceless women have been denied justice for years after being terrified into submission by beastly Alex Salmond due to his powerful status as First Minister. You can right this wrong, blah, blah, blah…”.

      • Penguin

        Hopefully the women are exposed and hounded out of Scotland and hopefully to an early grave. False rape allegations should carry the death penalty, not lifetime anonymity protected by state violence.

  • Bob smith

    I have just read the latest Guardian report. It is as if they are reporting on a different trial.

  • Frank Waring

    I would be glad if somebody with sufficient expertise in this area could indicate the circumstances under which a judge would agree to remove an individual member of the public, or reporter, from the public gallery.

  • Cubby

    BBC Reporting Scotland.

    The controversial British state controlled broadcaster focussed (exactly like STV) solely on Prentices summing up statement. Word for word emblazoned across the screen in large block capitals (again just like STV – collusion or coincidence). A whole day in court amounted to Prentices words.

    Ragmans roll. Instead of a contract of employment.

  • Pat

    Can see Prentice abandoning this trial tomorrow after Jackson has said his piece, It will be game over for Prentice…………

  • Dungroanin

    Well it seems that the mudslinging must have failed largely due to people being otherwise distracted.

    Rumour has it we go on lockdown at 5pm tomorrow.

    Plenty of real news going un reported, such as the Met shredding all their undercover police records.
    Ho hum.

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