Former UK diplomat found to be in contempt of court for Alex Salmond trial blog

A former diplomat has been found to be in contempt of court after covering the Alex Salmond trial on his blog.

Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, attended two days of Mr Salmond’s trial in March 2020, sitting in the public gallery, and wrote about it on his website.

The former first minister was cleared at the High Court in Edinburgh of 13 sexual assault charges involving nine women following his trial.

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At the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh on Thursday, Judge Lady Dorrian said: “The courts have concluded that having regard to the context in which the articles appeared, including the terms of the article January 18 and the tweet on January 19, that the articles of 11, 18, 19 March, 3 April and the tweet of 2 April, must be considered to constitute contempt of court, relating to material capable of identifying four different complainers.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond leaves the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: PA
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond leaves the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

“We therefore make a finding of contempt of court.

“The reasons for that will be issued in full in due course.”

Murray’s lawyer John Scott QC said: “Steps will be taken immediately to communicate the detail of what has been found in contempt of court.

“In anticipation, despite not having seen the opinion of the court or being aware of the court’s conclusions, the respondent took down his blog page yesterday.”

Mr Scott said 61-year-old Murray’s partner had given birth in February this year to their son, which would be factored into the social work report ahead of sentencing.

Murray faces up to two years in prison under the Contempt of Court Act.

A further hearing will take place on May 7.

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