A former Aberdeen MP has been cleared of sexual assault after the complainant’s appeal was dismissed.
Ross Thomson had already been cleared of sexual misconduct last year by the Commissioner for Standards in relation to an alleged incident in a parliament bar in October 2018.
The complainant in the case appealed and his claims were investigated by the newly established Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which is entirely independent.
Former Glasgow MP Paul Sweeney alleged publicly last year that Mr Thomson drunkenly tried to grope him at a bar.
Mr Thomson vehemently denied any wrongdoing but stepped down as Aberdeen South MP when the allegations resurfaced in the press prior to the 2019 General Election.
The IEP has now thrown out Mr Sweeney’s appeal and set out its reasons in a 12-page report.
Sir Stephen Irwin, chairman of the IEP said: “The panel made the decision in this first case guided by the principles of natural justice, fairness for all parties, transparency and proportionality, and will treat all further cases with the same regard and diligence.
“We understand the seriousness of, and the harm caused by, bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. We are rigorously independent, impartial and objective, acting without any political input or influence.”
In a statement, Mr Thomson said he welcomed the new ruling.
He said: “I welcome the decision of the independent expert panel to reject Paul Sweeney’s appeal.
“This is the second time his false and malicious allegations have been formally dismissed.
“I find it quite astonishing that Mr Sweeney had the brass neck to appeal the commissioner’s original decision which was based on extensive evidence, including witness statements and CCTV footage, contradicting his story.
“This fact is highlighted again in the report from the expert panel.
“In a 30-page report compiled by an independent investigator and submitted to the parliamentary commissioner for standards last year, Mr Sweeney’s accusations were described as “simply not credible”, “beyond the bounds of possibility” and “raised maliciously.”
“Lying about sexual assault is despicable. It destroys lives, does a disservice to genuine victims and undermines the system in place to protect them.
“I hope today’s decision finally marks the end of the smear campaign against me.
“I intend to restart legal discussions now that the appeal process has concluded.”