Alex Salmond trial on sex offence charges begins
BBC Scotland is reporting that the trial of Alex Salmond, who denies sexually assaulting 10 women while serving as Scotland’s first minister, has started.
The former SNP leader faces a total of 14 charges at the High Court in Edinburgh.
They include allegations of 10 sexual assaults, two indecent assaults, one attempted rape and an assault with intent to rape.
Mr Salmond says he is innocent, and has pled not guilty to all of the charges.
He has vowed to defend himself vigorously during the trial, and has lodged special defences of consent to four of the charges, and a special defence of alibi to a further charge.
The first witness in the trial is known as Woman H. Mr Salmond is accused of sexually assaulting her and attempting to rape her in 2014.
After Woman H confirmed her identity and that she was a Scottish government official, the trial was immediately adjourned for lunch.
The trial is being held before judge Lady Dorrian and a jury of 15 members of the public, which was selected on Monday morning.
The jury was earlier told by Lady Dorrian that the accused is a “very well known public figure” but they must reach a verdict based on “the evidence and nothing else” and that politics is “irrelevant”.
The trial is expected to last about four weeks.
It is alleged that the offences were committed at various locations across Scotland, including the Scottish Parliament and the first minister’s official Bute House residence in Edinburgh.
Mr Salmond, 65, was first minister of Scotland from May 2007 until November 2014, when he stood down in the wake of the country’s independence referendum.
What is Mr Salmond accused of?
The charges, which Mr Salmond denies, are set out in an indictment which includes the specific details of the allegations against the former SNP leader.
As with all sexual offence cases in Scotland, the media is not allowed to publish the names of the 10 alleged victims or any other information that could identify them, unless they give permission.
The alleged attempted rape is said to have happened in June 2014 at the first minister’s official Bute House residence in Edinburgh. He is alleged to have pinned Woman H against a wall and to have removed her clothes and his own, before pushing her onto a bed and lying naked on top of her.
The other 13 charges allege that Mr Salmond:
- Indecently assaulted Woman A on a number of occasions in Glasgow in June and July 2008 by kissing her on the mouth and touching her buttocks and breasts with his hands over her clothing
- Sexually assaulted Woman A in December 2010 or December 2011 in the Ego nightclub in Edinburgh by touching her arms and hips with his hands over her clothing
- Indecently assaulted Woman B in October or November 2010 at Bute House by repeatedly seizing her by the wrists and repeatedly pulling her towards him and attempting to kiss her
- Sexually assaulted Woman C in a car in Edinburgh in February 2011 by touching her leg with his hand over her clothing
- Sexually assaulted Woman D on various occasions between 2011 and 2013 at Bute House, the Scottish Parliament and other locations by touching her buttocks with his hands over her clothing, stroking her arms, and touching and stroking her hair
- Sexually assaulted Woman E at Bute House in October 2013 by removing her foot from her shoe, stroking her foot, lifting her foot towards his mouth and attempting to kiss her foot
- Sexually assaulted Woman F at Bute House in November or December 2013 by kissing her on the mouth
- Intended to rape Woman F in December 2013 at Bute House by causing her to sit on a bed, lying on top of her, making sexual remarks to her, touching her buttocks, thighs and breasts over her clothing with his hands, repeatedly kissing her face, struggling with her and pulling up her dress
- Sexually assaulted Woman G in 2012 at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow by touching her buttocks with his hand over her clothing
- Sexually assaulted Woman G at Bute House in April 2014 by placing his arm around her, making sexual remarks to her and attempting to kiss her
- Sexually assaulted Woman H at Bute House in May 2014 by placing his arm around her body, placing his hand under her clothing and underwear and touching her breast, repeatedly kissing her on the face and neck and stroking her leg with his hand
- Sexually assaulted Woman J at Bute House in September 2014 by seizing her by the shoulders, repeatedly kissing her on the face, attempting to kiss her on the lips and touching her leg and face with his hand
- Sexually assaulted Woman K at Stirling Castle in November 2014 by touching her buttock with his hand over her clothing
Mr Salmond says he is innocent of all the allegations against him, and has entered not guilty pleas to all 14 of the charges.