Alex Salmond wins court case against Scottish govt over sexual misconduct claims

At a hearing in the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Judge Lord Pentland said the decisions were “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias”.

Visibly trembling with emotion as he spoke outside Scotland’s highest civil court, the former SNP leader called for Scotland’s top civil servant, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, to quit her post.

He said he was “glad to have won” the case “and sad that it was necessary to take this action”.

“The government has made an abject surrender in terms of the case before we even got to the first day of hearings,” he said.

“Back in August when I made my last comments on these matters, I said that the process that was used against me was unfair, unlawful and tainted by bias.

“I also said I was not guilty of any criminality.

“The first of these has been established. The second is to come.

“But a former first minister of Scotland requiring to take the administration of the Scottish government to court to establish that point should not have been necessary.

“I think the person responsible should be considering her position,”

He added he would be writing to the “more than 4,000 people” who contributed to a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the judicial review and that any surplus cash would be donated to charity.

Lawyers for Mr Salmond argued that the Scottish government had acted unlawfully in its handling of complaints against him.

They stated that the process was unfair and tainted by apparent bias.

They said at the Court of Session that while civil service guidelines dictated there should be no contact between the people making complaints and those investigating them, that wasn’t the case.

In fact, they said, the civil servant who was investigating did indeed have prior contact with the complainers.

They said she gave them a significant degree of assistance in making the complaints against Mr Salmond, bordering on encouragement to them to proceed with formal complaints.

Two women lodged complaints of sexual misconduct against Mr Salmond last year, about alleged events in 2013.

The Scottish government accepted in court that there had been a failure in procedure and that an internal review would be carried out.

Ms Evans said the procedural flaw in the Scottish government’s investigation was “deeply regrettable” and did not have implications “for the substance of the complaints or the credibility of the complainers”.

She said the government would consider re-investigating the complaints “once ongoing police inquiries have concluded”.

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