Alex Salmond appears in court for preliminary hearing

Alex Salmond appeared in court today for a preliminary hearing before his trial on 14 alleged sexual offences begins next month.

The former SNP leader, 65, denies all the allegations against him, which include an attempted rape at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister, during the 2014 independence referendum campaign.

Mr Salmond appeared at the High Court in Glasgow for a third preliminary hearing this morning, which lasted less than hour.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The full trial is due to proceed on March 9, and is expected to last around for four weeks.

Salmond at court this morning. Picture: John Devlin

Read More

Read More
Alex Salmond court case: The charges in full

Matters discussed at today’s hearing cannot be reported for legal reasons.

Addressing the media outside the court after the first preliminary hearing in November last year, Mr Salmond said: “I’m not permitted to say too much today save that we’ve launched our defence statement with the court.

“It pleads not guilty to all charges and explains some of the circumstances in which they’ve come about. I’m also conscious we’re in the middle of a general election campaign. I’m not going to say anything which would influence that democratic process.

“We’re now into a second year of court actions, first civil and now criminal - it’s over ten months since we won the civil action.

“I am innocent and I will defend my position vigorously but the only place, the only proper place to answer criminal charges, is in this court - and that’s exactly what we intend to do next spring.”

The full indictment against Mr Salmond contains 14 charges that span a period between June 2008 and November 2014.

Several charges involved the accused allegedly groping women, including one incident at the Ego nightclub in Edinburgh in December 2010 or 2011, and another at the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow in March 2012.