Scotland politics

Alex Salmond legal win over redacted documents

Alex Slamond denies the claims Image copyright Mary Evans Picture Library
Image caption Former first minister Alex Salmond has taken legal action against the Scottish governemnt

Alex Salmond has won a legal bid forcing the Scottish government to hand over documents related to the sexual misconduct case against him.

Lawyers for the former first minister successfully argued that redacted emails and notes connected with the case should be independently reviewed.

Mr Salmond is pursuing a judicial review into the process used to investigate complaints against him.

A QC will now consider if the full documents should be released.

Two complaints against Mr Salmond were made in January of this year, weeks after new procedures for dealing with harassment claims were introduced by the Scottish government.

They relate to alleged events in 2013 when he was first minister.

Mr Salmond has denied any wrongdoing, and described allegations of sexual misconduct as "patently ridiculous".

'Legally sound'

The former SNP leader claims the subsequent Scottish government investigation was "unfair and unjust".

He resigned from the SNP in August and launched a crowdfunder appeal to help pay for a judicial review of the process.

A four-day hearing is due to be held from 15 January.

The government has said it is "confident" that its approach is "legally sound", and said it would defend its position "vigorously" in court.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The case will be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in January

Speaking at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Friday, Alex Slamond's advocate Ronnie Clancy QC said that he had received 300 documents relating to the Scottish government's investigation.

Mr Clancy said that as several of the documents were redacted, it was unclear whether or not they contained information that showed the probe against Mr Salmond was unfair.

The advocate also told the court that the Scottish government had not followed its own procedures.

Examine the documents

He said civil service guidelines showed staff who investigated harassment investigations should have no prior contact with those making the complaints.

However, Mr Clancy said the redacted documents did show that Scottish government staff were in contact with the complainers in December 2017 - one month before the start of the investigations against Mr Salmond.

The Scottish government's lawyer Roddy Dunlop QC said that his clients maintained that procedures had been followed correctly.

Court judge Lord Pentland said advocate Morag Ross QC would examine the documents and assess whether they should be given to Mr Salmond's legal team.

A separate police investigation into the allegations is ongoing and will not be affected by the judicial review, which focuses entirely on the government's processes.

More on this story