Alex Salmond, 65, will appear in the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday facing 14 sexual assault charges, including 10 charges of alleged sexual assault, two indecent assaults, one attempted rape and another of intent to rape. He has already pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The offences are alleged to have occurred at various locations, over an 8 year period, between June 2008 and November 2014 when Salmond was serving as Scotland’s First Minister. Nine of the assaults are alleged to have taken place at the First Minister’s official Bute House residence in Edinburgh.
Salmond was charged at a hearing in January 2019 and has always strongly denied the charges. After the hearing he told reporters:
“The only thing that I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court. I’ve got great faith in the court system in Scotland [and] that is where I will state my case.”
The trial is being held before Lady Dorrian, who is Lord Justice Clerk, Scotland’s second most senior judge.
It has also been confirmed that the jury of 15 members of the public have already been selected before the trial begins.
Once the trial has finished, the jury will retire before reaching one of three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty or not proven. This decision does not need to be unanimous, with only eight of the 15 jurors needing to be in agreement.
The “not proven” verdict is an unusual and highly controversial feature of the Scottish legal system, which in practice is exactly the same as a verdict of not guilty. The accused is acquitted and is innocent in the eyes of the law.
The trial is expected to last between three to four weeks.
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094 or 0330 300 1103.