Yet another “powerful man” has been tried for sexual offences against multiple women, but this time the accused has been totally vindicated. Alex Salmond was First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014. This month he stood trial at Scotland’s highest court, a trial that ended Monday. Scotland’s unique legal system has 15 jurors and 3 verdicts with no hung juries. Also, corroboration is required for conviction, traditionally two pieces of evidence. It used to be said that Scottish police officers would walk around in pairs so one could corroborate the other’s perjury.
Salmond was facing no fewer than 14 charges from 9 accusers: one charge was withdrawn by the Crown, he was found not proven on one, and not guilty on all the rest, which constitutes total vindication. He is arguably the least likely of public figures to have been tried for multiple sex offences in recent years, and the outcome of the trial raises questions about the motives of at least some of his accusers.
Unfortunately, thanks to the pernicious influence of the sexual grievance industry, most of us are unlikely to learn the names of any of these accusers due to the blanket anonymity given accusers in sex cases, or complainers as they are known north of the border. Their names will though be known to those within his political circle.
The most serious charges he faced were attempted rape. At least one mainstream publication alluded to actual rape, but there was no charge of rape, and as usual in such cases, the allegations dated back years, either the result of a police trawl or of suddenly empowered women showing “great courage” in coming forward to point the finger at this “powerful man”. Fortunately, there is no equivalent of the odious Gloria Allred in the UK because any solicitor who resorted to her antics would be struck off.
The allegations against Alex Salmond began with claims of sexual harassment. Roger Scruton once defined sexual harassment as sexual advances from the unattractive, which is the majority of us. From the evidence heard in Edinburgh this month, the recently deceased philosopher appears likewise to have been totally vindicated.
Alex Salmond has a rather unusual personal life; he married his first and only wife Moira in 1981. She is seventeen years his senior, and was once his boss, an almost certain recipe for disaster, but not apparently in this case. They are childless, and, it has been suggested, the age difference has led to his playing away a bit.
The charges dated back to 2008, although it was only in 2018 that formal allegations were made. At the end of August that year he set up a controversial crowdfunding appeal to fund a judicial review into the fairness of the process. It raised over £100,000 in less than three days. The police did not act until January 24, 2019, when he was charged with 14 offences including 2 of attempted rape.
The most noticeable feature of this case was Salmond’s demeanour, one borne not so much of innocence but of the supreme confidence of a man who knows he is right, and in the courtroom it soon became clear that he had good cause for it.
On day one of the trial, his first accuser known as Woman H said she felt “hunted” by Salmond as she was sexually assaulted on two occasions in the run up of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. These sexual assaults were alleged to have happened at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister.
Having endured his groping her when he was drunk one evening, the second time he was said to have followed her upstairs where he took off her clothes and his own before falling asleep, and she didn’t report this because she…“did not want to be considered to be one of his women”.
This was the most serious of the allegations. Woman D claimed he had touched her fundament perhaps ten times in two years. And of course she never once protested, much less slapped his face. On the third day of the trial, the jury was given a proper insight into what had happened here, and what hadn’t happened. Woman A admitted making contact with five of his other accusers following an article in the Daily Record. They were all known to her. This though was not comparable to the Jian Ghomeshi case in which a gaggle of malicious women set out to destroy a man, rather it was a case of one accuser validating another with a bit of confabulation and unquestionably some consensual horseplay thrown in which had been reinterpreted as sexual assault.
It is clear though that Mr Salmond does not view his accusers so charitably, and indeed he insisted that he was the victim of a high level plot within the SNP, an issue he was not allowed to raise in court, although he took the stand in his own defence, as should every innocent man without good reason.
It is clear that Scottish politics has not heard the last of Alex Salmond, and it is equally clear that at some point men in positions of power, political or otherwise, will need to take serious steps to protect themselves from false and at times malicious allegations by women, allegations that can be post-dated months, years, or even decades, and which can destroy careers and lives literally at the drop of a hat.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.