Alex Salmond inquiry: MSPs order Crown Office to hand over further documents

The Crown Office has been told to hand over a statement from a senior Police Scotland detective on the conduct of a key meeting between the police and the prosecution service.

The statement concerns a meeting where the Crown Agent, David Harvie, offered to hand over the Scottish Government’s findings following its investigation into harassment complaints against former first minister Alex Salmond to the police.

It followed the decision by Leslie Evans to pass the report to the Crown Agent despite the wishes of the complainers not to involve the police.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Alex Salmond while on the General Election campaign trail in Inverurie in the Gordon constituency.

During an evidence session on March 2 with the Lord Advocate, Mr Harvie said the meeting involved himself, a detective chief superintendent and the chief constable.

He said he had never read the report and the police decided not to accept the report, but to open a police investigation into what Mr Harvie described as “potential criminality”.

In another unprecedented use of the Scottish Parliament’s powers under the Scotland Act, the Salmond inquiry has demanded sight of a statement from the senior Police Scotland detective about the conduct of the meeting.

The notice, served to the Crown Office on Thursday, covers: “The statement from the Detective Chief Superintendent attesting to the conduct of the meeting which they attended on August 21, 2018 with the Chief Constable of Police Scotland and the Crown Agent, which included discussion of the handling of documentation in possession of the Crown Agent containing the conclusions of the Scottish Government investigation into complaints about the former first minister Alexander Salmond.”

The committee states the deadline for the material to be handed over is March 15.

The letter adds: “It is in the public interest to establish how this information was handled in order to inform the conclusions of the committee in line with its remit.”

The botched handling of harassment complaints against Mr Salmond led to a £500,000 legal bill after the government conceded a judicial review challenge on grounds the process was “tainted by apparent bias”.

Mr Salmond was also acquitted of sexual offence charges in a trial last year.

The committee is due to report before Parliament rises for the Holyrood election period.

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