How Alex Salmond's view of his harassment complaint investigation unfolded, email by email
The parliamentary inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond has released a dossier of evidence that was produced by the former first minister’s legal team for his judicial review action.
Here is a blow-by-blow account of Mr Salmond’s side of the story.
Alex Salmond’s legal team at Levy and McRae confirm they have been instructed to respond to the allegations. Ask for confirmation no part of the investigation would be subject to Freedom of Information.
Lawyers say more work needs to be done prior to a substantive response.
Mr Salmond’s team state it is not “possible to apply the procedure … in a manner which is consistent with the principles of procedural fairness”.
Offer mediation, which is rejected, and list several issues with the procedure. These include paragraph ten and 11 (the former of which was central to the ‘apparent bias’ conclusion by the Court of Session), lack of access to evidence, the fact the procedure was designed after he was a minister, and a lack of access to the investigating officer’s (IO) initial reports.
The allegations are also disputed and it is “seriously open to question whether these are competent complaints”, with one allegation “dealt with previously under the procedure then in place”.
Lawyers issue Mr Salmond’s substantive response, and raise the potential of a judicial review proceedings based on the perceived lack of procedural fairness.
Correspondence states: “For the avoidance of doubt most of the factual content of the allegations is disputed. "In short none of the allegations are admitted.”
Email raises several points on “fairness” on all allegations and the Scottish Government’s “refusal to engage with the substantial defects in process”.
They list; the lack of access to witness statements, lack of access to the IO’s preliminary report, denial of access to client records and diary entries, lack of a witness list, prohibition of contacting witnesses, not being allowed to present their own evidence, not seeing evidence for or against ahead of the IO’s revised report and decision, and no clarity on whether those documents will be available after the decision.
It states: “You do not attempt to explain why our objections to the Procedure are without merit.”
Levy and McRae consolidate their objections to the whole process in a letter.
Email to Leslie Evans reminding her of the confidentiality of the process and repeat they believe it to be “incompetent and unlawful”.
Offer of arbitration, later rejected. Email states: “It is clear that there is a fundamental dispute between us on the issues of competency and illegality.”
The offer is renewed in a separate email on July 9, with a response to the Scottish Government’s concerns about arbitration on July 13 and respond again on July 20 following a fresh rejection.
Mr Salmond’s team receive the findings, state they expect it to be kept private. Similar email sent to Nicola Sturgeon.
Lawyers given less than three hours notice of a statement going public about the investigation from the Scottish Government. They seek a court order to ban its publication. The Daily Record approach Mr Salmond about the concurrent police investigation before a ban is granted. His response makes public the legal dispute.