Alex Salmond inquiry demands Crown Office releases evidence from former first minister's criminal trial
The inquiry investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond has asked the Crown Office to release evidence used in the criminal trial.
The harassment complaints committee is investigating how the Scottish Government’s handling of accusations of sexual misconduct against the former first minister ended with a bill of £500,000 to the taxpayer following a successful judicial review action by Mr Salmond.
The former leader of the SNP also faced criminal charges of sexual offences, but was acquitted of all charges following a high-profile trial earlier this year.
The inquiry has been dogged by accusations the Scottish Government is withholding crucial evidence and information relating to the judicial review and complaints procedure.
Now committee convener Linda Fabiani has written to the Crown Office to request all relevant evidence from the criminal trial is provided to the inquiry.
The move followed Barbara Allison, the director of communications at the Scottish Government, retrieving the now infamous “battle maybe lost, but not the war” text sent by the permanent secretary Leslie Evans from the Crown Office following an additional search for the text she claimed she had not received.
In her letter to the Crown Office, Ms Fabiani said while the committee’s remit makes clear it will not revisit or reinvestigate the criminal trial, they believe the Crown Office holds information that may be crucial.
She wrote: “The criminal trial has concluded, and the committee is not seeking information in relation to the Crown’s decision to prosecute, the ‘merits’ of the allegations or the conduct of the trial.
"However, the committee is seeking material that the Crown may hold which falls within the committee’s remit, specifically any information, for example communications between officials, related to the conduct of the judicial review and the Scottish Government’s decision to concede; as well as information concerning the handling of the harassment complaints considered under the Scottish Government procedure as opposed to the merits of any such complaints.
“The committee wishes to obtain the relevant information and evidence necessary to fulfil its remit in a timely manner and therefore requests provision of all such information held by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”
A Crown Office spokesperson said: “The correspondence has been received and will be responded to in due course.”
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