Alex Salmond's QC guilty of professional misconduct over train footage

The QC who defended Alex Salmond during his criminal trial has had a complaint of professional misconduct upheld against him for discussing the case on a train.

Gordon Jackson came under fire after he was caught on video naming two of Mr Salmond's accusers, who are the subject of strict rules protecting their anonymity.

He quit as Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, which then launched a probe following a complaint by Rape Crisis Scotland.

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A disciplinary panel has now found Mr Jackson breached a court order protecting the accusers' identities.

Gordon Jackson QC. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesGordon Jackson QC. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Gordon Jackson QC. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Mr Salmond was cleared of multiple allegations of sexual assault after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in March 2020.

Footage of Mr Jackson discussing the case on a train between Edinburgh and Glasgow was later published by a newspaper.

The high-profile QC could be heard saying of one accuser: "All I need to do is put a smell on her."

He was also heard saying: "I don't know much about senior politicians but he was quite an objectionable bully to work with, in a way that I don't think Nicola [current first minister Nicola Sturgeon] is.

"I think he was a nasty person to work for...a nightmare to work for."

It is understood Mr Jackson, a former Labour MSP, can appeal the finding.

A penalty has yet to be determined.

Mr Jackson previously sent an email to members of the Faculty of Advocates claiming the video footage may have been a “deliberate set-up”.

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Sandy Brindley, chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “When video footage emerged of then Dean of the Faculty Gordon Jackson naming complainers and engaging in highly inappropriate conversation on the Edinburgh to Glasgow train in 2020 the Scottish public were rightly shocked.

“We are relieved that the Faculty of Advocates have finally confirmed that this was professional misconduct, and a breach of the contempt of court order that remains in place to protect the anonymity of the complainers in this case.

“This has been a drawn out and difficult process littered with extensive delays that have had a very real and significant impact on the lives of those involved.

“Jackson may well have believed that his colleagues would have worked to try to shield him from any consequences to his actions, but it is right that he is held to account.

"He should now be stripped of his right to practice as a QC as an appropriate sanction that reflects the severity of this professional misconduct.

"The process of this complaint handling - and the fact this happened at all - should prompt serious reflection on accountability and organisational culture within the legal profession.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the harm of Jackson’s actions here, not only to the women directly involved in the case but in the chilling message he sent that day to anyone considering reporting sexual crimes.

"Navigating the criminal justice process is already daunting and difficult for complainers, any breaches of the anonymity of those who do report their experiences are serious and completely unacceptable."

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A Faculty spokeswoman said that as the process was ongoing it would not be appropriate for it to comment, beyond confirming it was correct to say that a finding of professional misconduct had been made regarding Mr Jackson.