Politics

Alex Salmond Inquiry: Judge publishes reasons for varying trial court order

A judge has published her reasons for varying a court order issued during Alex Salmond’s criminal trial.

Lady Dorrian issued her 10-page document after a legal challenge by the Spectator magazine.

Some MSPs believe the ruling could pave the way for evidence by the former first minister and his one-time chief of staff to be published by the Holyrood Inquiry.

The Parliament has so far refused to publish Salmond’s submission, which makes direct criticism of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Inquiry is examining the SNP Government’s botched handling of sexual misconduct complaints against Sturgeon’s predecessor.

Salmond took the government to court in 2018 and it was accepted the internal probe had been unlawful.

His allies believe he was the victim of a conspiracy and the fiasco ended the friendship between Sturgeon and Salmond.

However, the Inquiry has been in crisis over the non-publication of Salmond’s evidence..

In his submission, Salmond accused Sturgeon of misleading parliament over meetings between the pair, claims she rejects.

Holyrood lawyers advised against publishing the Salmond submission – despite it being widely reported in the media – amid legal concerns.

The evidence of Geoff Aberdein, who was Salmond’s chief off staff, has also not been published.

Salmond has tied his appearance in front of the committee to his evidence being published, so the refusal to publish meant he would likely boycott the committee.

However, the Spectator magazine went to court in a bid to have a court order from Salmond’s criminal trial adjusted.

The order protects the identities of the complainers in the criminal case.

Judge Lady Dorrian agreed to vary her order, and she published her reasons today, but it is unclear whether this will lead to Holyrood publishing the Salmond and Aberdein submissions.

In her reasons, she wrote: “I considered that the addition of the words “as such complainers in those proceedings” would serve to highlight the scope of the order whilst maintaining the necessary protection for complainers. I agreed therefore to vary the order to that extent.”

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