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The Great Salmond Sex Scandal


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One might think that this brouhaha cannot be doing The Cause any good whatsoever.

One might think that the Govt would wish to get it over and done with, to cauterise the wound(s), to repair -and to pay?- the damage(s), and to march on to the radiant future, or, at least, to the next elections, on the way consigning this issue to the Annaker's midden of political  history. 

 

The way that it has ducked, dived, dodged, and temporized shamelessly,  might make one think that the heaps of material contain some of a dangerously fissile nature. 

 

Salmond inquiry: SNP defies court orders to hand over Salmond papers

Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political Editor

Thursday November 26 2020, 12.01am, The Times

UK politics

 

Alex Salmond is considering taking further legal action against the government he used to lead

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/salmond-inquiry-snp-defies-court-orders-to-hand-over-salmond-papers-87klvfgl6

 

SNP ministers have failed to hand over key documents relating to the unlawful investigation of Alex Salmond despite two court orders and a search warrant, it has emerged.

The former first minister is considering taking further legal action against the government he used to lead.

 

Among evidence due to be handed to a Holyrood inquiry into the government’s mishandled pursuit of Mr Salmond is material that has not previously been seen by the former SNP leader or his legal team.

In a letter to members of the cross-party committee at the Scottish parliament, David McKie, of Levy and McRae, the law firm representing Mr Salmond, said that the Scottish government had not yet provided an explanation for why the evidence had emerged only now. “Neither we nor our client had received a material number of these documents before,” he said.

“This was in spite of formal recovery processes in both the judicial review and a warrant served on the government in the criminal case. A number of these could potentially have been of great assistance to our client. We are considering the legal consequences of this with our client and with counsel. We have asked the government for an explanation but they have not replied.”

 

During Mr Salmond’s successful judicial review against the Scottish government, the Court of Session ordered a commission and diligence process and a commission of documents to obtain material related to the case.

The court ruled that the government’s process was unfair and tainted with apparent bias. Mr Salmond was awarded £512,000 in costs.

The Times disclosed in September that the Crown Office served a warrant on the government last autumn to obtain documents linked to the separate criminal investigation into sexual assault allegations against Mr Salmond. He was cleared of all charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.

 

At Holyrood yesterday, MSPs voted again for the government to release legal advice relating to the judicial review. This is seen as key to understanding why it continued to fight the case against Mr Salmond and whether legal counsel believed it was winnable.

 

Mr McKie’s letter to the committee also contained an excerpt from a briefing note sent to SNP MSPs seeking to blame the law firm for the slow release of documents to the committee.

It said that the government could not release the material without Mr Salmond’s consent. Material has not been passed to the committee “not due to Scottish government’s failures but because other parties had not agreed on its release”, the note said.

In his letter, Mr McKie said his firm had been given 400 document containing more than 4,000 pages and had so far approved 289 documents for publication. The rest are expected to be ready for release by tomorrow.

Mr McKie added: “Two documents remain missing, however.”

 

It has emerged that ministers could face a vote of confidence if they continue to refuse to hand over legal advice about its unlawful investigation after a second defeat in parliament.

John Swinney, the deputy first minister, was accused of “cynically running down the clock” after failing to provide the information to the inquiry. Opposition parties united to defeat the government for the second time in three weeks on the subject of the legal advice by 65 to 55 votes on the non-binding motion.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP, suggested that Mr Swinney may face another vote of confidence if the legal advice was not handed over to the committee.

 

Mr Swinney survived a vote of confidence called in August after the exam results fiasco.

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So, the game was a bogey, and everyone knew it. 

Shootie-in for the Fat Man, and a cool £500K of public cash was trousered by his briefs. (Eh, you know what I mean.)

 

La Sturgeon is standing on a technicality to brazen it out.

It's either something very big that she is hiding, or she is confident that the matter will blow over soon, and have little or no impact on The Cause. 

"Och, it's jist a blaw in a chantie", she hasn't yet opined. 

 

Officials ‘knew Alex Salmond case was doomed’

Mark McLaughlin

Friday November 27 2020, 12.01am, The Times

 

Alex Salmond was awarded more than £500,000 in legal fees after the Scottish government investigation was deemed unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/officials-knew-alex-salmond-case-was-doomed-q8zrsnrcr

 

Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to reveal when her officials knew that their investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond was “deeply flawed” and indefensible in court.

Mr Salmond was awarded more than £500,000 in legal fees after the Scottish government investigation was deemed unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

Opposition parties wielded their collective majority in parliament on Wednesday to demand publication of the legal advice they received before pressing on with their costly defence.

 

Paul Cackette, former head of the Scottish government’s legal directorate, told MSPs earlier this month that he was alerted to a “potentially significant problem” with the government’s defence in late October 2018.

The procedural case collapsed two months later after it emerged that Judith Mackinnon, the civil servant who led the government’s internal inquiry, had met the two complainants to discuss their claims before she was appointed to investigate them.

 

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives at Holyrood, yesterday challenged Ms Sturgeon to admit her officials were warned the defence was doomed to fail well before the case collapsed.

“I will say what the legal advice contained and the first minister can tell me whether I am wrong,” she said.

“The advice that the Scottish government’s senior counsel received warned that the Scottish government’s handling of the sexual harassment allegations was deeply flawed, and that the judicial review would find in favour of Alex Salmond, as it duly went on to do.

“The advice was proffered to the Scottish government long before it finally collapsed its own case, running up hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of bills in the process, and utterly failing the women who came forward. Can the first minister tell the public which part of that I got wrong?”

 

Ms Sturgeon replied: “Were I to go into the detail I would stand here right now and breach the ministerial code.”

 

John Swinney, the deputy first minister, is considering whether it is “in the public interest” to ask law officers for permission to publish their legal advice.

In January, Ms Sturgeon assured MSPs that the committee set up to investigate the handling of the allegations against Mr Salmond would receive all the information it required.

 

Ms Davidson said: “The blunt fact is this — the only reason that she is breaking her promise is because she has something to hide.”

 

On November 3, Mr Cackette told a Scottish parliament committee he first became aware “that prior to her appointment as investigating officer Ms Mackinnon had involvement and contact with the complainers” in late October 2018. He told MSPs: “It was clear from my first becoming aware of it that this was potentially a significant problem . . . I realised that, if the circumstances were as they were set out by the petitioner, it was a potentially serious issue that had to be looked at.”

 

Inquiry limits its demand
The scope of legal advice the inquiry is seeking from the Scottish government has been narrowed after weeks of wrangling (Craig Paton writes).

The committee set up to investigate how complaints against Alex Salmond were handled has been pushing for the release of legal advice received during a judicial review brought by the former first minister.

Releasing legal advice is against the ministerial code unless there are “exceptional circumstances” and law officers must provide their consent.

MSPs have voted twice for the advice to be made public but Nicola Sturgeon and her deputy John Swinney have said a process is being undertaken to see if it can be released.

Now, in an attempt to speed things up, Linda Fabiani, the convener of the committee, has written to Mr Swinney to limit the scope of the request, clarifying the inquiry is only seeking the legal advice on the chances of the Scottish government winning the case.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 29/11/2020 at 19:50, compo said:

It looks like the supreme leader is above the law 

Abune them a'.....

 

Officials infringed data protection law in Alex Salmond dispute

Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political Editor

Thursday December 17 2020, 12.01am, The Times

 

Alex Salmond is understood to be considering his legal options after the ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/officials-infringed-data-protection-law-in-alex-salmond-dispute-7z880w7qg

 

Officials broke data protection law in a dispute with Alex Salmond over access to evidence relating to an inquiry into the government’s handling of harassment complaints against him.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the watchdog, ruled that the SNP administration “infringed data protection law” as it delayed providing the party’s former leader with a copy of personal information that he was entitled to under a subject access request.

Mr Salmond, 65, asked for documents on June 19; all the relevant material was provided five months later, weeks before the ICO issued its ruling.

The commissioner said that it would not take any further action beyond writing to the government urging it to learn from the ruling but told Mr Salmond that he was within his rights to take the government to court.

 

The former first minister is understood to be considering his legal options. In January last year he won a judicial review into the government’s handling of harassment complaints against him by two civil servants. Mr Salmond was awarded £512,000 in costs.

The Scottish government last night said it was within its rights to provide Mr Salmond with only a summary of his data. However, the ICO said Mr Salmond’s correspondence should have been treated as a subject access request. The government handed over the full document on November 13.

 

An SNP source called the ruling “deeply damaging” and accused ministers and officials of failing to fully disclose information in the public interest or to protect personal data in accordance with privacy laws. “Instead they weaponise information, keeping secret what is damaging to them and correcting only when they are found out,” the source said.

 

The cross-party Holyrood inquiry into the government’s botched investigation of Mr Salmond is growing frustrated with the Scottish government’s refusal to disclose the legal basis for its doomed court battle with him. Critics believe ministers ignored legal advice not to fight the challenge and Holyrood has twice voted for the publication of the advice. Negotiations are believed to be continuing about how the inquiry may be able to access the documents.

 

A government spokesman said: “The Scottish government has not been found to have infringed data protection law by failing to let Alex Salmond see documents that were provided to the committee and it would be incorrect to state otherwise.”

 

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