Alex Salmond goes on trial accused of sexual assaults

The former first minister's trial at the High Court in Edinburgh is expected to last four weeks.

Alex Salmond goes on trial accused of sexual assaults Getty Images

Alex Salmond has gone on trial accused of sexually assaulting ten women while he was first minister.

Salmond arrived at the High Court in Edinburgh shortly before 8.30am on Monday, with proceedings beginning just after midday.

He has pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges he faces, including one of attempted rape.

The 65-year-old is also accused of sexual assault, intent to rape and indecent assault.

Salmond has lodged a special defence of ‘consent’ to four charges and ‘alibi’ to one other.

The charges span a period between June 29, 2008, and November 11, 2014.

His trial, before judge Lady Dorrian, is expected to last four weeks.

The first complainer in the Crown’s case against Salmond began giving evidence shortly before lunch and told the court she had supported independence.

Known as Ms H, she was asked by advocate depute Alex Prentice QC if she supported the objectives of the SNP.

The woman, a Scottish Government official, said: “I never grew up political. I was a soft supporter of independence but I wasn’t necessarily hardcore party politically orientated.”

Judge Lady Dorrian earlier told the jury of nine women and six men they must be “impartial” during the trial.

The judge said the accused is a “very well-known figure” and they should decide the case on the evidence heard in court and “nothing else”.

She added: “The overriding requirement that you must satisfy is that of impartiality.

“If you think that there is any reason that you cannot be impartial you must inform the clerk.

“You cannot allow yourselves to be swayed by sympathy or prejudice.”

What are the charges against Salmond?

The indictment alleges that Salmond attempted to rape a woman at the first minister’s official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh, in June 2014.

It is said he placed her legs over his, repeatedly kissed her face and neck, groped her, and then blocked her path.

Salmond is then alleged to have pinned her against a wall, pulled at her clothes and stripped himself naked before trying to rape her on a bed.

The former MP is also accused of sexually assaulting a woman with intent to rape in December 2013.

He is alleged to have forced a woman to lie on his bed at Bute House and then pulled up her dress with intent to rape her.

The first charge listed accuses Salmond of indecently assaulting a woman by kissing her mouth and groping her on various occasions around Glasgow between June 29 and July 24, 2008.

It is also alleged he sexually assaulted a woman on various occasions between May 2011 and June 2013 at the Scottish Parliament, Bute House and elsewhere by touching her bottom and stroking other parts of her body.

Salmond – who was Scotland’s first minister from 2007 to 2014 – is also accused of sexual assault by allegedly taking off a woman’s shoe and trying to kiss her foot in October 2013.

He is further accused of grabbing a woman by her shoulders at Bute House, repeatedly kissing her face, trying to kiss her lips and touching her leg and face in September 2014, the month of the Scottish independence referendum.

Several charges involved the accused allegedly groping women, including one incident at a restaurant in Glasgow in March 2012.

Salmond denies all the charges.