Alex Salmond’s QC has referred himself to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission after he was filmed apparently discussing the case on a train before the former first minister was acquitted of all charges in his trial.
Gordon Jackson was filmed making remarks on a train during the trial, which finished at the High Court in Edinburgh on March 23, and the video was obtained by The Sunday Times.
The lawyer appears to say Mr Salmond could be seen as “a sex pest but he’s not charged with that” and Mr Jackson, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said he does not regard the former first minister in that way.
He said: “I have decided that the proper course of action is to self-refer this matter to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) and that has been done.
“It will be for the Commission to consider this matter.
“To be clear, however, I do not regard Alex Salmond as a ‘sex pest’, and any contrary impression is wrong. I also deeply regret the distress and difficulties which have been caused, but given the reference to the SLCC, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.”
The former first minister was acquitted of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults, including one with intent to rape, following an 11-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
The jury returned not guilty verdicts on 12 charges and returned a not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape.
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Rape Crisis Scotland has called for a full investigation of the video footage.
A statement issued by Mr Salmond said: “Mr Salmond was acquitted on all charges against him on Monday 23 March by a jury of nine women and six men (eight women and five men at the time of verdict) after hearing all the evidence in a two-week trial.
“He made a statement on the steps of the High Court and said that he would make no further public comment on these matters until after the coronavirus crisis was over.”
Roddy Dunlop, QC, vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said: “The faculty takes this matter extremely seriously.
“It plainly warrants investigation, but as the dean has self-referred to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, it would not be appropriate for the faculty to comment further.”
Meanwhile, the women who made sexual assault allegations against Mr Salmond have told how they have been left “devastated” after he was cleared in court of all charges.
But the nine women insisted they will not let the former first minister being acquitted define them.
They also said that while the experience of taking the case to court had been “traumatic”, it had been the “right thing to do”.
Their joint statement was issued by the charity Rape Crisis Scotland.