Crown ordered to release further document to Salmond inquiry

On Thursday, the Holyrood committee issued a notice under Section 24 of the Scotland Act 1998.

Crown ordered to release further document to Salmond inquiry PA Ready

The committee of MSPs investigating the government’s handling of harassment complaints has ordered the Crown Office to hand over a further document relating to Alex Salmond.

On Thursday, the committee issued a notice under Section 24 of the Scotland Act 1998.

The MSPs are seeking a statement given by a senior police officer following a meeting with the Crown Agent on August 21, 2018.

The statement discussed the handling of documents held by the Crown Agent containing conclusions of the Scottish Government investigation into complaints about Salmond.

MSPs on the committee have given the Crown Office a deadline of noon on March 15 to comply with the request, saying they must publish their report before parliament enters recess on March 25.

A statement from the committee released on Thursday said: “The committee’s statement on the handling of information and evidence confirms that the committee will treat all information in accordance with the relevant court orders and data protection law.

“In line with this statement the committee does not seek any information likely to identify the complainers, including information as to the substance of the complaints.

“Furthermore, the committee will not revisit the criminal trial.”

The committee has previously used a Section 24 order to seek text or WhatsApp messages between Scottish Government and SNP officials held by the Crown Office.

It heard evidence from the Lord Advocate and the Crown Agent on March 2 this year.

Responding to the latest Section 24 notice, a spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Copfs) said the prosecution agency had engaged constructively with the committee.

He said: “The Scotland Act 1998 stipulates that Copfs cannot simply produce any document on receipt of a such a notice.

“Crown counsel, on behalf of the Lord Advocate, needs to consider whether producing any documents sought would be contrary to the public interest.

“Crown counsel will consider this notice and, as in all matters, act with impartiality and fairness to apply the law, and the public interest test, professionally and independently.”