Alex Salmond complainant had her case looked at in 2013

A woman who made a sexual misconduct complaint against Alex Salmond had her case looked into back in 2013, the Court of Session has heard.

One of the two women who has complained against the former First Minister had her case dealt with by the Scottish Government almost five years ago, it was claimed.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond is seen today.  Picture: Duncan McGlyn

Former First Minister Alex Salmond is seen today. Picture: Duncan McGlyn

The claim was made when Mr Salmond’s legal challenge came before judge Lord Pentland for the first time for a procedural hearing.

Mr Salmond is taking legal action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process activated against him in relation to two sexual harassment allegations made in January, which he strongly denies.

He has since resigned from the SNP and is pursuing a judicial review in Scotland’s highest civil court.

Mr Salmond, who used a crowd-funding appeal to raise more than £100,000 to pay for his legal costs, did not appear in court for the hearing.

First Minister Alex Salmond is seen today filming outside of the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace this afternoon in Edinburgh. Picture: Duncan McGlynn

First Minister Alex Salmond is seen today filming outside of the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace this afternoon in Edinburgh. Picture: Duncan McGlynn

The former First Minister’s lawyer Ronnie Clancy QC revealed that Mr Salmond and two other unnamed individuals had submitted affidavits relating to the case.

Mr Clancy said they related to the issue of “whether one of the complaints was dealt with in December 2013.”

He said: “What we have got is averments from the respondents (the Scottish Government), which acknowledge that the issue was raised in some way which acknowledge that finality was accepted at the time.

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Lawyer Christine O'Neill arrives at the Court of Session in Edinburgh for the procedural hearing for former First Minister Alex Salmond's legal challenge against the Scottish Government. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Lawyer Christine O'Neill arrives at the Court of Session in Edinburgh for the procedural hearing for former First Minister Alex Salmond's legal challenge against the Scottish Government. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

“What they have not done is intimate that the previous procedure was applied at that stage – the Fairness at Work procedure.”

Mr Clancy said he was left “having to prove” that it was dealt with under that particular Fairness at Work procedure.

Lord Pentland said the question of what procedure had been used should be a matter of fact.

Acting for the Scottish Government, Christine O’Neill said there was a question to be addressed “as to what relevance they (the affidavits) have to the question of fairness.”

Solicitor David Mckie arrives at the Court of Session in Edinburgh for the procedural hearing for former First Minister Alex Salmond's legal challenge against the Scottish Government. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Solicitor David Mckie arrives at the Court of Session in Edinburgh for the procedural hearing for former First Minister Alex Salmond's legal challenge against the Scottish Government. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Earlier Mr Clancy told the court he will argue the former first minister was not given adequate information about the sexual assault allegations against him.

Lord Pentland said lawyers for the government would argue those acting for Mr Salmond do not “have a relevant case as a matter of law” but the latter believe they were not given adequate information about the allegations.

Mr Clancy said there should have been more information than the gist of the allegations and questioned the procedure under which they were investigated.

Ms O’Neill said it was made clear when Mr Salmond was told about the formal complaints in January “they were investigated in terms of the procedure”.

Lord Pentland told the court the Scottish Government’s position is the First Minister agreed the complaints procedure on behalf of the government on December 20 and formal complaints were lodged on January 16 and January 24, 2018.

Mr Clancy questioned if initial informal contact between those alleging sexual harassment and the government was made before the procedure came into force.

Ms O’Neill said even if that was the case, it would not mean a formal complaint could not be lodged subsequently and argued the pre-formal complaint process is “essentially irrelevant”.

Mr Clancy said Mr Salmond was notified an initial investigation had been launched into the complaints on January 17, before one of the complaints appeared to have been formally lodged.

Lord Pentland asked Ms O’Neill to make clear whether or not the earlier procedure was applied.

The court also heard Mr Salmond had lodged a statement of written evidence, as had two other individuals - not named in court - for his case.

The full case is due to be heard over four days from January 15 next year.

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