SALMOND WELCOMES COURT VICTORY AS SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ADMITS DEFEAT
Scottish Government accepts Permanent Secretary decision on Salmond as “unlawful”, “procedurally unfair” and “tainted by apparent bias”.
The Scottish Government has today conceded defeat in the Judicial Review brought by Alex Salmond. The case was due to start in the Court of Session on 15th January 2019.
In addition, the expenses of the legal action have been conceded by the Scottish Government, at a cost of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Speaking after today’s hearing in front of Lord Pentland Mr Salmond said;
“I am deeply appreciative of the work of my legal team who have been outstanding in delivering what is an emphatic victory, grateful to my family and friends who have stood with me throughout the last year, and thankful to the more than 4,000 people who contributed to the crowd funder for this Judicial Review, without whose support I would not have been able to defend my position.
I pledged that any surplus remaining would be entirely devoted to good causes in Scotland and beyond. That will now happen.
As I reflect on the last difficult months, I am mindful of three things.
First, that this process was completely unnecessary. Over the last year my legal team repeatedly offered the Scottish Government legal arbitration to resolve any complaints, and to establish the illegality of this process, without the need for such a damaging and expensive case to come to Court. To my great regret, all such proposals were rejected, leaving me with no choice but to bring this matter to the Court of Session.
As a result, Leslie Evans, the Permanent Secretary, has wasted huge amounts of public money in an incompetent attempt to enforce an unlawful process. Now, having incurred those costs to the public purse, she has collapsed the case prior to a full hearing.
Secondly, the Scottish Government’s conduct in this case as an institution has unquestionably lacked candour. Officials repeatedly failed to disclose documents to the Court which were of central importance. Those documents ultimately made clear the apparent bias and procedural unfairness which has only now been admitted. As a former First Minister, I find that conduct entirely unworthy.
Those documents remain confidential as part of the court process, for now. But in my view they reveal a clear and obvious breach of the principles of fairness and natural justice. It is a matter of great personal sadness that I have had to bring the Scottish Government to court simply to ensure that those within it are acting fairly, honestly and with due regard for the law.
Thirdly, I want to record my profound unease about the systematic leaking of this matter, from wherever that occurred. Any complaints process requires to be confidential in order to be fair to those making complaints, and fair to those about whom complaints are made.
In the leaking of those details to the media, rights of privacy and confidentiality have been blatantly disregarded.
That was done deliberately, and to inflict the maximum damage to my reputation. It included the leaking of detailed complaints to a tabloid newspaper, complaints which I emphatically dispute. It included also the briefing of the supposed advice of the Lord Advocate to the press. That breaches a fundamental constitutional principle - that of the independence of the criminal justice system from political interference.
From the outset, I have argued both that the decision made by the Permanent Secretary was unfair, biased and unlawful and that I have never engaged in any criminality.
The first point has now been established. The second point I believe will follow.”