The former Scottish first minister was acquitted on all sexual offence charges. Now he is taking the fight to his political accusers
From the moment that Alex Salmond found himself facing allegations of sexual misconduct in office, it was clear his trial would have huge consequences. So it has proved. Mr Salmond is 21st-century Scotland’s most significant politician. The 13 cases of sexual offences involving nine women, mostly Scottish government or Scottish National party officials, were extremely serious. The former first minister has always been a “Marmite politician”, as his defence lawyer admitted to the jury last week, adding that Mr Salmond “could have been a better man”. Whatever the outcome of the trial, the consequences were likely to be explosive.
Mr Salmond’s acquittal on all counts this week ensures that. High on any list of the immediate consequences of such a high profile case is where it leaves women who accuse men of sexual harassment. That impact is likely to be compounded by Mr Salmond’s intention to take the fight to his accusers, and to attack senior figures in the SNP and the Scottish government, above all his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, whom he charges with conspiracy to remove him from politics. Mr Salmond may sue the Scottish government. He wants to put his case to a Holyrood inquiry. He is writing a book. His supporters are revved up. If nothing else, this is a difficult environment for victims.