Alex Salmond trial: who is Gordon Jackson QC, the lawyer leading the former First Minister’s defence

Former First Minister Alex Salmond will have one of the nation’s most highly regarded advocates in his corner as he faces trial on multiple accounts of sexual assault.

Gordon Jackson will lead the former First Minister's defence. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Faculty of Advocates Dean, Gordon Jackson QC will be tasked with defending Salmond while Alex Prentice QC leads the crown’s case and the trial itself is overseen by Scotland’s most senior female judge, Lady Dorrian.

Alex Salmond has pleaded “not guilty” to all 14 charges.

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Here’s everything you need to know about Gordon Jackson.

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Alex Salmond to stand trial on sex assault charges

Who is Gordon Jackson?

Educated at Ardrossan Academy, Gordon Jackson then went on to acquire a Law degree from the University of St Andrews, becoming an advocate in 1979.

While he continues to practice at the Scottish Bar, Jackson has also qualified as a barrister in England and Wales. He quickly developed a reputation amongst lawyers as a ferocious courtroom performer.

Thanks to his habit of arriving at Parliament just before the 5pm vote, he was nicknamed “Crackerjack” by some of his colleagues – referencing the children’s show of the same name which famously aired at 4.55pm.

He was appointed Queen’s Council in Scotland in 1990.

In 1999, Jackson was elected as Govan’s MSP as a member of the Scottish Labour party. He held the office until Nicola Sturgeon defeated him in 2007. During his time as an MSP, Jackson controversially chose to continue working at the Bar.

He became the Dean of Faculty of Advocates – the ruling body for Scotland’s most senior lawyers - in 2016, making him the leader of the Scottish Bar.

Now 71 years-old, he stands today as one of the most highly-regarded legal professionals in Scotladn. Any list of the Scottish legal profession’s top-earners will usually find the name Gordon Jackson somewhere near the top. In 2012, he was reported to have earned £400,000.

What other famous cases has he worked on?

In a career spanning over 40 years, Gordon Jackson has argued in a number of important cases.

However, perhaps his most famous legal battle was on behalf of a dog called Woofie.

In 1998, a cross collie named Woofie was accused of biting a postman and was going to be put down. The case attracted a great deal of attention, with French actor Brigette Bardot flying in to lend her support to the imperilled canine.

Jackson successfully defended the dog, winning it a reprieve.

What role will he play in the Alex Salmond trial?

Gordon Jackson will present the case in defence of Alex Salmond as he seeks to clear his name of multiple sexual assault charges from between 2008 and 2014, all of which Salmond denies.

Jackson has stated in court that in four of the incidents, his client believed there was consent, while a special defence of alibi has been lodged for another of the charges.

The trial continues.