Nicola Sturgeon horrified by photo of '˜whistleblower taped to chair'

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is 'absolutely horrified' by an image of a woman taped to a chair and gagged at a Scottish Government body.

The First Minister told MSPs at Holyrood she had directed the government’s permanent secretary Leslie Evans to carry out a review of the case of DeeAnn Fitzpatrick.

Ms Fitzpatrick has complained of bullying and misogyny while working at the offices of Marine Scotland in Scrabster, Caithness, in the Highlands.

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An image has emerged of her taped to a chair and gagged in an incident alleged to have taken place after she spoke out over the claims.

Fisheries officer DeeAnn Fitzpatrick was restrained by colleagues. Picture: BBC

She has now taken her case to an employment tribunal.

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'˜Whistleblower' woman was '˜taped to chair and gagged by colleagues'

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant raised the case of her constituent during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood.

She said: “The First Minister is aware of the case of my constituent DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, about whom I have previously written to her.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is horrified at the image. Picture: PA Wire

“She cannot be anything other than shocked at the photograph published by the BBC showing one aspect of DeeAnn’s abuse.

“Will the First Minister now intervene, investigate the abuse and stop DeeAnn’s persecution at the hands of Marine Scotland, and will she also remove the gagging clause that stops DeeAnn telling her own story, because it is in the public interest that she is heard?”

Ms Sturgeon responded: “Like everyone else who has seen it, I am absolutely horrified at the photograph that has been in the media over the past 24 hours and I’m also horrified at the circumstances in which that photograph is alleged to have been taken.

“Bullying, abuse, sexism, racism have no place in any workplace and let me be very clear today: they will not be tolerated within the Scottish Government or within our agencies.

“There is, of course, as the member is aware, an ongoing employment tribunal, there’s also an ongoing internal investigation, so I am somewhat limited in what I can say.

“I can tell the chamber that I have this morning asked the permanent secretary of the Scottish Government to conduct a full review of the circumstances of this case, a review of the action that has already been taken and of any action proposed to be taken, and to report to me personally on her conclusions as soon as possible.”