Alex Salmond believes the Scottish Government is trying to provide unlawful material to inquiry, lawyer warns
Alex Salmond believes the Scottish Government is trying to provide unlawful material to the committee established to investigate the handling of harassment complaints against him, the former first minister's lawyer has warned.
In a letter to the committee, David McKie, a lawyer representing Salmond, said the former SNP leader believes the Scottish Government is attempting "unjustifiably to malign his reputation” while seeking to publish documents “which have been either reduced by the Court of Session (as unlawful), or which would breach the undertaking given by the Government and recorded by the Court”.
The Scottish Parliament committee is investigating what went wrong with the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints made against Salmond.
That probe was found to be unlawful by the Court of Session and resulted in the government having to pay Salmond over £500,000 in legal expenses.
The letter states: "It appears to our client that the Scottish Government’s continued intention is to provide delayed and partial production of documents which on one view they have been legally entitled to produce to the Committee for months (those being Scottish Government documents) whilst simultaneously seeking to produce material which has been reduced as unlawful by court order and is the subject of undertakings given to the Court of Session.
“Our client’s view is that that position is extraordinary from any party to proceedings.”
He added: “To be clear, any attempt to share or publish documents which have been either reduced by the Court of Session (as unlawful), or which would breach the undertaking given by the Government and recorded by the Court, would defeat entirely the purpose and effect of the court action successfully undertaken by our client.”
McKie said: "The only possible explanation for seeking to take such a step appears to our client to be a desire unjustifiably to malign his reputation, rather than account for their own unlawful actions."
Committee convener Linda Fabiani has expressed her frustration in recent weeks with the willingness of parties to cooperate with the committee investigation, accusing the Scottish Government and Salmond of “obstruction”.
Last week Fabiani wrote to the court asking for access to all the main documents associated with Salmond’s judicial review.
But the letter from Salmond’s lawyer rejected accusations of obstruction, saying “we consider that position to be inaccurate, wholly unfair, and contrary to the evidence of consistent communication and cooperation via this firm”.
McKie adds: “Our letter has never been published on your website nor have we received a reply beyond a holding response to that letter. Given the impact on our client’s reputation by what our client considers to have been a grossly unfair and misleading statement, that requires to be addressed immediately.”