Baillie claims Salmond's lawyers can hand over evidence

Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has claimed the lawyers representing Alex Salmond can give previously barred evidence to the Holyrood committee investigating the Scottish Government’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints against the former first minister.

Ms Baillie, who is a member of the committee, has revealed the body is considering writing to Levy & McRae, as suggested by Mr Salmond at his six-hour evidence session on Friday, to ask it to share vital documents which it has otherwise been unable to access.

She has said that despite legal restrictions placed on certain documents due to the rules which surround “disclosed materials” during a criminal trial, the solicitors can give the evidence she said the committee needs.

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Mr Salmond, who was cleared of 13 allegations of sexual assault and abuse last year, alleges there is information supplied to his lawyers during the trial that would shine a light on the “malicious plan” he claims was concocted to remove him from public life.

Alex Salmond taking the oath at the Holyrood committee.

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He also claims his lawyers have evidence the Scottish Government failed to meet the request of a search warrant by providing all the information asked for under its terms during the preparation of his trial.

At his committee session, Mr Salmond said it should stop serving orders on “people who have been unwilling to give you information” and instead use the powers under the Scotland Act “to serve an order on my solicitors, who are extremely willing to give you information”.

He said: “Furthermore the information of the letters from the Crown Office that have prevented me from furnishing you with that information hitherto is something that you might also like to request under the same powers of the Scotland Act 1998.”

Ms Baillie said the committee was discussing sending such a letter to Levy & McRae under a section 23 order, which compels them to release the information asked for, about Mr Salmond’s evidence to committee, the minutes of commission on diligence, which was refused to be shared by the Scottish Government, the sisting or delaying of the judical review and the messages from Peter Murrell, Susan Ruddick and Ian McCann.

"The letter has not yet ben sent out, but the longer we wait the more difficult it becomes," she said.

Ms Baillie added:

"In legal terms, in these circumstances where something is mutually contradictory neither constitutes an offence, so it’s clear they can provide us with the information when requested.”

However, The Scotsman understands section 162 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Scotland Act is “absolute” and would therefore prohibit the solicitors from handing over the evidence, as would the provisions of their code of conduct.

The committee has already written to the Crown Office under a section 23 Order asking it to release all documents which “represent correspondence” between chief of staff to the First Minister Liz Lloyd, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, and the party’s operating officer Sue Ruddick and compliance offcer Ian McCann between November 2017 – when the Scottish Government was developing its policy which was used to investigate Mr Salmond – and January 2019, which was two months before his criminal trial began, and after he had won his judicial review which found the government’s process unlawful.

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