Timeline of allegations and trial against Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond has been acquitted of attempted rape and a series of sexual assaults, including one with intent to rape.

The former first minister of Scotland was cleared of all charges by a jury following an 11-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Here is a timeline of events leading to the verdict.

Edinburgh Stock
Mr Salmond’s trial took place at the High Court in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

January 2018: The Scottish Government receives two complaints of harassment involving Alex Salmond, dating back to 2013, and launches an inquiry.

March 2018: The former first minister is informed about the investigation against him.

August 23 2018: The Daily Record publishes news of allegations made to the Scottish Government against Mr Salmond via a tweet.

The former first minister denies claims of harassment and launches a court action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process that was activated against him.

Please see statement below. pic.twitter.com/LaTKotwdA8

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 24, 2018

August 24 2018: Nicola Sturgeon posts a statement on Twitter saying she has been aware for “some time” of the investigation into Mr Salmond and has no role in the process.

She says: “My relationship with Alex Salmond obviously makes this an extremely difficult situation for me to come to terms with.”

Police Scotland confirm allegations have been passed to the force.

Mr Salmond strenuously denies sexual harassment complaints made against him during his time as Scotland’s first minister, saying he has “never engaged in criminality”.

August 26 2018: Ms Sturgeon says there is “no legal basis” to suspend Mr Salmond from the SNP, following calls for the move from opposition parties.

She says her party has not received any complaints about her predecessor’s conduct – nor has it carried out the investigation.

Leslie Evans and Nicola Sturgeon
Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government Leslie Evans alongside First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Andrew Milligan/PA)

August 27 2018: Mr Salmond writes to Scotland’s top civil servant, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, calling for an inquiry into how sexual harassment allegations against him were made public.

August 28 2018: Mr Salmond formally begins his legal action against the Scottish Government by lodging his petition for a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

August 29 2018: The former first minister announces he has resigned his membership of the SNP to avoid divisions in the party.

He launches a crowdfunding campaign to help with his costs in the legal action and the £50,000 target is smashed within hours.

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond speaking outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

January 8 2019: Judge Lord Pentland rules at the Court of Session that the Scottish Government’s actions were “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and they were tainted with apparent bias”.

Ms Sturgeon supports the decision of Ms Evans to settle the case after a failure to properly apply the complaints procedure.

Mr Salmond calls on Scotland’s top civil servant to quit her post after accusing her of “wasting” hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money.

January 15 2019: The Scottish Parliament announces it will mount its own investigation into the fallout from allegations against the former first minister.

January 24 2019: Police Scotland confirms it has arrested and charged Mr Salmond.

He appears at Edinburgh Sheriff Court facing allegations of sexual assault, including attempted rape.

The former first minister gives a statement saying he “refutes” the criminal allegations and plans to defend himself “to the utmost” in court.

January 31 2019: An investigation into whether Ms Sturgeon breached the ministerial code during discussions with Mr Salmond is put on hold until the conclusion of the court case against him.

February 6 2019: MSPs vote to establish a Holyrood committee to investigate the Scottish Government’s handling of complaints against Mr Salmond, later agreeing to put its work on hold until the conclusion of the court case.

November 21 2019: Mr Salmond first appears at the High Court in Edinburgh and pleads not guilty to the charges against him.

March 9 2020: The trial starts at the High Court in Edinburgh.

March 23 2020: The jury returns not guilty verdicts on 12 charges, including attempted rape, and a not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape.

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