Trial of ex-SNP MP accused of embezzlement delayed until spring

The trial of a former SNP MP accused of embezzling more than £25,000 from two pro-independence groups has been pushed back to next spring.

Ex-MP Natalie McGarry did not appear at the hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday but has previously entered not guilty pleas to the two embezzlement charges she faces.

She was due to stand trial next month but the trial has now been postponed until April 2022 to allow more time for preparations.

Allan Macleod, representing Ms McGarry, told the court the defence is waiting for more information relating to a report.

He said: “There is a defence motion to adjourn.

“The commissioner indicates it will be October before he completes his task. The defence wish that to be completed.”

The Crown described the delay as “hugely frustrating”.

McGarry, 39, is accused of appropriating £21,000 for her own use in her role as treasurer of the Women for Independence group between April 26 2013 and November 30 2015.

She is accused of failing to transfer charitable donations raised by the group to Perth and Kinross Foodbank and to Positive Prisons, Positive Futures.

It is alleged she transferred funds raised through events on behalf of Women for Independence into her own personal bank account and used cheques drawn on the organisation’s bank account to deposit money in her own accounts.

McGarry is also accused of embezzling £4,661.02 for her own use from the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between April 9 2014 and August 10 2015.

It is alleged that in the course of her roles as treasurer, secretary and convener of the association, she used cheques drawn on bank accounts held in its name to pay expenses it had not incurred and retained reimbursements to which she was not entitled.

The indictment also alleges she used cheques drawn on bank accounts held in the association’s name to deposit money in her own personal bank accounts, and transferred funds donated to the association through its website into her own accounts.

McGarry was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip after the emergence of fraud allegations – which she denied.

She continued in Parliament as an independent MP representing Glasgow East but did not seek re-election in 2017.

Sheriff Tom Hughes agreed to postpone the trial until April 4 next year, with a pre-trial hearing on February 8.