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Crown Office expresses ‘concern’ about Alex Salmond’s written evidence

The Crown Office wrote to the Scottish Parliament raising concern about possible contempt of court with the publication of Alex Salmond’s evidence.

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The Crown Office has expressed concern about Alex Salmond’s evidence after he said the prosecution body was unfit for purpose (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Crown Office has expressed concern about Alex Salmond’s evidence after he said the prosecution body was unfit for purpose (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Crown Office has expressed concern about Alex Salmond’s evidence after he said the prosecution body was unfit for purpose (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Crown Office has expressed concern about the publication of Alex Salmond’s written evidence by the Scottish Parliament.

The former first minister’s written evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into the botched investigation of sexual harassment claims was published on Monday evening.

In the evidence, Mr Salmond accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of misleading parliament and breaching the ministerial code.

He also described the Crown Office – the body responsible for prosecuting crimes in Scotland – as “not fit for purpose” under its current leadership.

We have asked the Crown Office to clarify its concern so that we can respond todayScottish Parliament spokeswoman

Following its publication, the Crown Office sent a letter to Holyrood’s corporate body that raised concerns and reportedly asked for redactions or for the evidence to be removed from parliament’s website.

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: “The Crown Office wrote to the SPCB last night.

“We have asked the Crown Office to clarify its concern so that we can respond today.”

A Crown Office spokesman declined to comment on the contents of the letter but said “in all cases where the Crown becomes aware of issues of potential contempt, these will be considered carefully and action will be taken if considered appropriate”.

In response to Mr Salmond’s evidence on Monday evening, he said: “We take seriously our responsibility to uphold the law and to protect the dignity and rights of all those who come into contact with COPFS.

“Scotland’s prosecutors have acted independently and in the public interest at all times when considering matters related to this case.”

Mr Salmond is due to appear before the Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints, set up to look into the unlawful investigation of allegations against the former leader of the SNP.

His written evidence names people he claims were involved in a “malicious and concerted” attempt to see him removed from public life, including Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff Liz Lloyd, her husband and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, the SNP’s compliance officer Ian McCann and its chief operating officer Sue Ruddick.

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Alex Salmond leaves the High Court in Edinburgh after he was cleared of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults (Jane Barlow/PA)

Alex Salmond leaves the High Court in Edinburgh after he was cleared of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults (Jane Barlow/PA)

PA

Alex Salmond leaves the High Court in Edinburgh after he was cleared of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said: “The inescapable conclusion is of a malicious and concerted attempt to damage my reputation and remove me from public life in Scotland.

“It is an attempt which would, in fact, have succeeded but for the protection of the court and jury system, and in particular the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.

“However, underlying all of this and perhaps the most serious issue of all is the complete breakdown of the necessary barriers which should exist between Government, political party and indeed the prosecution authorities in any country which abides by the rule of law.

“I leave to others the question of what is, or is not, a conspiracy but am very clear in my position that the evidence supports a deliberate, prolonged, malicious and concerted effort amongst a range of individuals within the Scottish Government and the SNP to damage my reputation, even to the extent of having me imprisoned.”

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there was no evidence to support Alex Salmond’s claims (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there was no evidence to support Alex Salmond’s claims (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

PA

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there was no evidence to support Alex Salmond’s claims (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

Ms Sturgeon insisted Mr Salmond would not be able to prove there was a conspiracy against him.

She said: “What we have not seen is a shred of evidence to back these wild claims up.

“Now, in front of the Parliament, the burden of proof is on Alex Salmond.

“It is time for insinuation and assertion to be replaced with actual evidence.

“If, as I fully expect, there is no evidence, because there was no conspiracy, then people will draw their own conclusions.”

An additional written submission to the committee by Ms Lloyd said claims of a conspiracy against Mr Salmond were “demonstrably false” and added: “I reject the allegation in its entirety and note that it is not substantiated by any evidence and is founded on a number of claims that are false.”

PA


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