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The Great Salmond Sex Scandal


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6 hours ago, forlanssister said:

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The last week I have spent in my mountain pied a terre in Mallorca. The big news in the local blat is for the first time in decades, a breeding pair of vultures have returned to Serra de Tramuntana. Looking at that photo, it appears Bute House already has several breeding pairs of carrion.

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Gratifying that the SG is expending every effort, every moment of the day to combat the crises in health and education.

 

What’s all the shirt sleeves and blouses? Turn the heating down and put on your jackets.

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Yesterday's proceedings from today's Guardian and (in a bogof kind of way), below,  The Times

 

In short: a monstrous regiment conspired against the Fat Man.

 

Alex Salmond trial witness denies making up attempted rape claim

Woman tells court she wishes ex-first minister ‘was a better man and I wasn’t here’

Severin Carrell Scotland editor

 @severincarrell

Tue 10 Mar 2020 19.12 GMTLast modified on Wed 11 Mar 2020 08.18 GMT

 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/mar/10/alex-salmond-trial-witness-denies-making-up-assault-allegations

 

A key witness in the Alex Salmond trial has rejected an accusation that she fabricated claims he assaulted and attempted to rape her when he was the Scottish first minister.

Salmond, the former leader of the Scottish National party and a former MP and MSP, is on trial for 14 sexual offences including attempted rape, intent to rape, 10 charges involving numerous sexual assaults and two of indecent assault. He denies all the charges.

Witness H, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had told the high court in Edinburgh on Monday that Salmond sexually assaulted her in May 2014 and tried to rape her the following month.

During her second day of evidence, the former Scottish government official, told the court again that Salmond had stripped her clothes off in a bedroom at Bute House, the first minister’s official residence in Edinburgh, and lain naked on top of her.

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Shelagh McCall QC, one of Salmond’s lawyers, repeatedly challenged H’s accounts of the events, accusing her of making up both allegations and of changing her story since giving two interviews on oath to police in late 2018 and early 2019.

She also accused H of contacting three other women who are also crown witnesses against Salmond, including those who have formally accused him of sexual assault and intent to rape, in the early stages of the police investigation.

H told the court on Monday that Salmond attempted to rape her after a private dinner with a celebrity at Bute House in June 2014. She had not mentioned attending that dinner to police when she was first interviewed in September 2018.

McCall said H had no evidence of being there and accused her of lifting details about the dinner from a public source. “Isn’t the truth of the matter that you weren’t at [the] dinner at all and there was no incident with the first minister?” McCall asked.

“I wish for my life that that is true but it’s not true,” H replied. “ wish on my life that the first minister was a nicer and a better man and I wasn’t here.”

H told the court she wished she had shouted for help from security staff, who were stationed on the ground floor of Bute House, and that she had had the strength to leave the bedroom during the attack.

She told the court she froze and panicked, and could not believe she was being attacked again by him so soon after the previous assault. Asked why she did not call out, she said: “I just wish I had. You have to remember that part of my job was to protect him and I didn’t fully understand what was happening.

“This was a man who was often aggressive, often bullying and was now forcefully trying it on with me in what was feeling like a long period of time.”

H had told the court the first assault happened after Salmond hosted a boozy dinner linked to the Scottish independence campaign at Bute House. McCall told the court that Salmond was able to account for his movements on nearly every evening during May 2014.

The court heard that on 20 days that month he was not at Bute House in the evening, while on nearly every other evening, diaries and calendars showed he hosted events which were not relevant to H’s role in 2014.

McCall challenged H on her contacts with a senior SNP official, Ian McCann, and three other women after the Daily Record reported on 23 August 2018 that a Scottish government internal inquiry had upheld complaints from two women of inappropriate behaviour by Salmond.

H told the court she first approached McCann in late 2017 after the Harvey Weinstein allegations surfaced in the US and the #MeToo movement gained momentum. She did not specify what Salmond had done to her but warned McCann there had been incidents involving the former party leader.

McCall pressed H to explain why she quickly made contact with other complainers, the Scottish legal term for complainants, after the Record story and after Salmond disclosed he was suing the Scottish government over its inquiry. She asked H whether the two complainers encouraged her to contact the police.

In a text to another complainer two days after the Record story, H wrote: “I’m mulling too. But I have a plan. And means we can be anonymous but see strong repercussions.”

Challenged on what she meant, H said she and the other complainer “had discussed in the past issues around Mr Salmond’s behaviour”.

McCall asked why she contacted another complainer who was then involved in a “ring around” of people who had worked with Salmond. H said she was trying to find out what was happening. “I was trying to figure out what the party and police process was, so I could figure out our path forward,” H said.

The woman’s evidence continues on Wednesday.

 

And from today's Times. 

 

Alex Salmond’s accuser denies making up claim of attempted rape

Mike Wade

Wednesday March 11 2020, 12.01am, The Times

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/alex-salmonds-accuser-denies-making-up-claim-of-attempted-rape-2v2rk2st3

 

The woman Alex Salmond is accused of attempting to rape has rejected claims that she concocted the allegations, saying that she wished the “first minister had been a nicer and better man”.

On the second day of Mr Salmond’s trial over accusations of sexual assault, she questioned whether the former first minister may have gone “off the rails” under the pressure of the campaign for Scottish independence.

She also explained how the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein case had inspired her to report the alleged incident to SNP officials.

The witness, known as Woman H to protect her identity, again spoke about two alleged incidents, including one charge that Mr Salmond tried to rape her in June 2014. She told the High Court in Edinburgh that she didn’t want her complaints about being “hunted” around the former first minister’s official residence to become public, but wanted them “internally recorded” for vetting purposes should he decide to stand again for office.

The court was told that when she informed SNP headquarters of the allegations, she received a text message that stated: “Will sit on that and hope we never need to deploy it.”

Speaking about her reaction to what she says Mr Salmond did, Woman H added: “I didn’t communicate to anyone that I had been assaulted. I was trying to figure out whether this was a one-off like a drunken mistake due to the pressure of the campaign and he had just gone off the rails.”

Mr Salmond, 65, faces 14 charges of alleged offences against ten women. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Shelagh McCall, QC, representing Mr Salmond, accused the prosecution witness yesterday of making up the attempted rape and said that she had used knowledge about the former first minister’s whereabouts at the time to fabricate the account.

Ms McCall asked why the woman had not called for a security guard to help on the night the alleged incident in June 2014, or left the premises sooner.

Woman H said: “I wish that I stood up and decked him but I didn’t, I wish I had run but I didn’t — I was in panic. I wish I had. I didn’t fully understand what was happening to me.

“I had wanted to deal with it privately because the whole thing was horrible. I just absolutely froze. I was screaming on the inside but not on the outside.”

Woman H decided in autumn 2017 to contact SNP headquarters about the alleged incidents. She told the court: “I had started to learn about [the #MeToo movement], yes.

“It was just around that time. It was on the back of the Harvey Weinstein case. These issues started to be discussed and I started to have what I could describe as flashbacks.”

The jury was shown messages in which an SNP official arranged a meeting and gave her assurances that the matter would remain confidential.

The charges span from June 29, 2008, to November 11, 2014, with one sexual assault said to have taken place in the month of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

The trial before Lady Dorrian continues.

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Yesterday's events from today's Times.

 

In short: Stop your ticklin', jock

 

 

Alex Salmond trial: women’s allegations are ‘trivial’, says defence

Mike Wade

Thursday March 12 2020, 12.01am, The Times

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/alex-salmond-trial-womens-allegations-are-trivial-says-defence-ldz0fplmd

 

Alex Salmond’s lawyers asked an alleged victim: “do you call that groping?”

 

Lawyers for Alex Salmond dismissed some of the claims of sexual assault against the former leader of the SNP as “trivial”, asking one alleged victim: “Do you call that groping?”

Yesterday the High Court in Edinburgh heard evidence of alleged unwanted advances from Mr Salmond, including that of a senior Scotttish government official who told the jury of his “disgusting” behaviour at a nightclub in Edinburgh in 2010 or 2011.

Known as Woman A to protect her identity, she claimed that Mr Salmond “groped” her on the dancefloor, adding: “He ran his hands down the curve of my body, over my hips, commenting ‘you look good, you’ve lost weight’.”

She also told the court that during a by-election campaign in 2008, Mr Salmond had planted “sloppy” kisses on her mouth and touched her bottom.

Mr Salmond’s lawyer, Gordon Jackson, QC, challenged Woman A’s description of the incident. “It’s hardly groping — would you call that groping?” he asked. She replied: “Yes. He touched my breast, my waist, my hips.”

Mr Salmond, 65, from Strichen in Aberdeenshire, faces 14 charges of sexual assault against ten women, which he denies.

During his cross-examination of Woman A, Mr Jackson suggested the reality was that the incidents she was involved in “such as they were, were absolutely nothing, they were not distressing in any way, shape or form”.

Mr Jackson said “trivial things” had been turned into criminal charges after newspaper reports emerged in August 2018 that Mr Salmond was being investigated. He questioned why the alleged incident in the nightclub had not been mentioned in six police interviews.

Woman A said she was surprised that they had not come up because she thought she had told the police.

The woman also told the court that she had been in contact with other complainers in the case. “I would not be encouraging people to make a complaint,” she said, adding some asked for advice. “In every case I made it clear it was a decision for them to take.”

Alex Prentice, QC, for the Crown, asked Woman A whether she would describe the incidents as “trivial”. She answered: “No.”

Shelagh McCall, QC, for Mr Salmond, suggested that another of Mr Salmond’s alleged victims might have considered his actions “trivial”.

She cross-examined Woman C, an SNP politician, who alleges the former first minister put his hand on her knee as they sat in his official limousine.

The woman said: “It wasn’t a kind of quick touch, maybe you’re chatting and the hand goes out and comes back, he had his hand there and it stayed there for the duration of the journey.”

Ms McCall pointed out that the woman had waited until 2018 to report the incident and then only after she had a received a call from the police. She asked: “In your own mind did you previously set that aside as something trivial?”

Woman C replied: “It is so hard to explain how much he meant to our party . . . I didn’t think ‘put it aside because it was nothing’, it was because of who he is and what he was. Who on earth was I going to tell and what on earth were they going to do about it?”

The trial continues.

 

I used bag to deter Alex Salmond’s touches, accuser claims

Mike Wade

Thursday March 12 2020, 12.00am, The Times

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/i-used-bag-to-deter-alex-salmonds-touches-accuser-claims-xgg6k00mh

 

An SNP politician has described “the surreally awful” experience of allegedly having her leg gripped by Alex Salmond in the back of his first ministerial limousine while her husband sat in the front.

The politician said she had been “absolutely gobsmacked” when Salmond put his hand on her leg “just above the knee” and left it there, on a journey between a Pizza Express restaurant near the Scottish parliament and Edinburgh’s Waverley station.

“This was the first minister, someone I looked up to,” she told the High Court in Edinburgh. “I was embarrassed. I hoped it would go away and he would stop.”

The politician, known as Woman C to protect her identity, was giving evidence on the third day of Mr Salmond’s trial, for 14 alleged assaults against ten women.

The alleged offences, including an attempted rape, are said to have taken place between 2007, when he was elected first minister, and November 2014, just after the independence referendum.

Mr Salmond, 65, of Strichen, Aberdeenshire denies all charges.

Woman C said the first minister had offered her husband and her a lift to the station.

It was the first time she had travelled in a ministerial car and her husband was “chuffed” to be in the vehicle with Mr Salmond, a man “he looked up to and admired.”

After the car set off, Mr Salmond allegedly put his hand on the politician’s leg and it remained there until they reached the station.

She said nobody noticed his actions. Woman C recalled: “People were talking — my husband was talking — that’s what made it bizarre, everything was still continuing to go on. I just froze. I sat there thinking ‘just stop’.”

Earlier, a senior official in the Scottish government told the court that she began carring a bag “to put some distance between” her and the former first minister after his repeated attempts to kiss her and touch her bottom.

Known as Woman A to protect her identity, the official gave evidence about meeting Mr Salmond on the campaign trail during a month-long by-election in 2008.

Woman A said: “In getting out of the car, he would come to greet me in a very familiar way, giving the impression he was going to kiss me on the cheek and then kissing me on the lips.

“He would put his hands on my shoulders so I couldn’t turn away. Normally you would move to one side.”

The kisses happened about ten times, and were, she added, “very sloppy and very unpleasant”.

About three or four times when he embraced the woman, Mr Salmond allegedly moved his hands “on my back, by my chest or on my bum”, the official said, adding that when they were walking along the street, “Mr Salmond would put his hand on my back …and slide it down to my bum.”

She began to carry her bag “so it was between me and him,” she added

The woman, who gave evidence from behind a screen, was asked by Alex Prentice, for the Crown, why she had not complained about Mr Salmond’s alleged behaviour.

“He was the most powerful man in the country. I didn’t know what would happen — I had experienced some volatile behaviour from him. It was easier to move away.”

Another witness was a celebrity supporter of Scottish independence who described meeting one of the former SNP leader’s alleged victims, known as “Woman H”, on the night that she alleges she was assaulted.

The celebrity, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said they met on June 13, 2014, at at a small, “jovial” dinner party at Bute House hosted by Mr Salmond.

In a police interview, via Skype, the celebrity described Woman H’s presence in Bute House “in a rather musty room” at a meal of “very fine roast lamb” accompanied by a “modest amount of wine”. He described Woman H by her hairstyle, height and build.

Afterwards, he joined Mr Salmond and Woman H in a study, where the first minister signed a copy of Scotland’s Future, the SNP’s independence white paper. The celebrity left the building about 11pm.

Mr Salmond is charged with attempting to rape Woman H after the meal at Bute House. She previously told the court that she felt “hunted down” by the former first minister, before he later “full-on pounced” on her and took his clothes off in a bedroom in Bute House.

Salmond’s lawyers have lodged special defences of consent and alibi.

The trial, before Lady Dorrian, continues.

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