Alex Salmond trial: Jury retire, defence claims two most serious charges are 'rubbish'

Former First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.Former First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
The jury retired to begin its deliberations at 1.53pm.

The jury in the Alex Salmond trial have retired to consider their verdict after hearing his defence counsel claim the two most serious charges against him are "rubbish" and the prosecution case "stinks".

In his closing speech, Gordon Jackson QC said the issue was not whether the former First Minister behaved inappropriately on occasion but whether he was guilty of criminal offences.

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And he suggested there was "something going on". He said: "This all comes out of the political bubble with no real independent support of any kind."

Mr Salmond faces 13 charges involving nine women, including one of attempted rape and one of intent to rape. He denies all the charges.

Mr Jackson referred to Woman H's comment that she wished the First Minster had been a better man.

He said: " I'm not here to suggest he always behaved well or could have been a better man on occasion - that would be a waste of time.

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"But we're in a court of law. I'm not dealing with whether he could have been a better man because he clearly could have been, but whether it is established he was guilty of serious, sometimes very serious criminal charges."

Mr Jackson said no sexual charge could be trivial but many of the allegations were incidents "nobody thought twice about” at the time and yet years later they were being used " to bolster the two serious charges that in themselves are rubbish".

He added: "This is scary stuff."

The defence has argued the attempted rape did not happen and the alleged victim Woman H was not at Bute House on the evening concerned.

And Mr Jackson claimed the account of the incident which had led to the charge of intent to rape had "like almost everything else grown arms and legs".

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He said Woman C, the SNP politician who claimed Mr Salmond had placed his hand on her leg during a car journey, had never thought she was a victim of sexual assault but "hey presto" the incident had become a crime on the indictment.

"It's a really sinister pattern," he said.

He said Woman A, who had described Mr Salmond running his hands over her body in an hourglass motion in Edinburgh's Ego nightclub, had been interviewed six times by police without ever mentioning it.

He said: “This stinks, this absolutely stinks”.

He said Woman A was also “fiercely involved” in talking to other complainers. “There’s something that doesn’t smell right about the whole thing.

"I don't know what is going on and I'm not suggesting you can work it out either.

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But I know this, every single complainer that has been brought to this trial is in a political bubble."

Mr Jackson told the jury he believed

in the rule of law - nobody was above the law but equally no one was below the law.

He said Mr Salmond might be seen as a "Marmite" person but he did not care whether the jurors liked Mr Salmond or not. "He is entitled not to be convicted of anything unless there is clear evidence."

And he concluded: "This has gone far enough, gone on long enough, too long maybe. It's time, I say you quite bluntly, bring this to an end."