Salmond trial accusers voice devastation at verdict

The nine women said they hope society can move forward in its understanding of sexual harassment.

The women involved in the criminal case against Alex Salmond have said they are “devastated” after the former first minister was cleared of all the charges against him.

In a statement released on Sunday, the nine women said they hope society can move forward in its understanding of sexual harassment.

They added that demeaning, intimidating and humiliating behaviour should not be seen as trivial or tolerated.

On Monday, a jury found Salmond not guilty of 12 charges and one charge against him was found not proven.

The women insisted that while the experience of taking the case to court had been “traumatic”, it had been the “right thing to do”.

In a joint statement, the nine women said: “While we are devastated by the verdict, we will not let it define us.

“We hope through shining a light on our experiences, it will serve to protect and empower women in the future.”

Their statement, issued by the charity Rape Crisis Scotland, added: “Today we want to send a strong and indisputable message that such behaviours should not be tolerated – by any person, in any position, under any circumstances.”

The women spoke out almost a week after the former SNP leader was cleared of the 13 charges he had been facing, including an allegation of attempted rape, by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The complainers, who were identified in the trial only as Woman A, Woman B, Woman C, Woman D, Woman F, Woman G, Woman H, Woman J, and Woman K, said: “The jury has delivered a majority verdict on the charges brought against the former first minister.

“We are devastated by the verdict. However it is our fervent hope that as a society we can move forward in our understanding of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

They recalled that Mr Salmond’s lawyer, Gordon Jackson QC, had quoted Woman H and said “his client should have been a ‘better man’.”

In her evidence to the court, Woman H had said: “I wish for my life the first minister was a better man and I was not here.”

In his closing speech, Mr Jackson told the jury: “If in some ways the former first minister had been a better man, I wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here.”

But he went on to argue the case against Salmond “stinks”, saying it comes from “this political bubble with no real independent support”.

In their statement, the women said: “Many of us did speak up at the time of our incidents but were faced with procedures that could not deal with complaints against such a powerful figure.

“Others were silenced by fear of repercussions.

“It was our hope, as individuals, that through coming forward at this time we could achieve justice and enact change.

“We remain firm in our belief that coming forward to report our experiences and concerns was the right thing to do.

“But it is clear we alone cannot achieve the change we seek.”

They added: “All people should feel safe, valued and equal in society and their workplace and it is imperative to ensure robust complaint structures are in place.”

Alex Salmond declined to comment.

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