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UK News Alex Salmond trial hears man wanted to ensure 'welfare' of colleague when he entered room where woman was alone with former first minister

16:27  19 march  2020
16:27  19 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Scotland's former first minister has begin giving evidence in his own defence at the High Court in His trial has heard that the civil service took steps in 2014 to prevent him being left alone with women in his But Mr Salmond insisted that "there was no policy" like that. He also claimed that some of the

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Alex Salmond et al. posing for the camera: Alex Salmond (right) arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh with his wife Moria Salmond © PA Alex Salmond (right) arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh with his wife Moria Salmond

A witness has told Alex Salmond's trial at the High Court in Edinburgh that he wanted to ensure the 'welfare' of a colleague when he entered a room where Salmond and a woman were alone together.

The man worked as an advisor to Salmond when he was first minister.

He was giving evidence at the trial of the former first minister who is facing sexual assault charges.

The man said he was in Bute House when he went into a room where Salmond and a woman, identified in reports as Woman B, were alone together.

He was asked by Shelagh McCall QC, acting for Salmond, if he saw “anything that concerned you“.

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Salmond , Sturgeon’s predecessor as first minister and Scottish National party leader, is on trial facing 13 charges Giving evidence in the second day of Salmond ’s defence case, Aberdein told the court he had two meetings with “I wanted to take advice because I didn’t understand the judicial process.

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He replied: “I don’t recall that.”

Asked later by prosecutor Alex Prentice QC why he considered it necessary to go the room, he replied he wanted to ensure the “welfare of my colleague was OK”.

Alex Salmond et al. standing on a sidewalk: Alex Salmond (right) arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh with wife Moira on day nine of trial © PA Alex Salmond (right) arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh with wife Moira on day nine of trial

Salmond’s driver as first minister was also called as a witness today

He says he can recall a car journey when Salmond gave a lift to a Woman C to Waverley Station in Edinburgh.

It said the journey would take “five or six minutes perhaps”.

He said the atmosphere in the car was “very jovial”.

Woman C has previously claimed to the court that Salmond placed his hand on her knee during a car journey and kept it there for a “lengthy period”.

Ms McCall asked the driver if he saw that happen.

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The first witness on day six of the trial is Woman B, a former civil servant in the Scottish Government. Woman B told the court she was with Mr. Salmond in Bute House when he said he wanted to "recreate the pose" in a Jack Vettriano painting which had been proposed as the illustration

Alex Salmond is on trial over accusations of sexual assault, including an attempted rape, spanning a period between June The court heard all those at the meeting agreed the image was inappropriate but the civil servant said she was grabbed by Salmond when she was left alone in the room with him .

He replied: “I did not, no.”

A woman who worked as a civil servant under Salmond when he was first minister was also called as a defence witness.

She said Salmond was “very demanding” and “demanded the best of all his staff”.

She said the job was also “extremely exciting”.

The woman described seeing Salmond and Woman D on one occasion when they walked “fairly close together” and seemed “quite familiar”.

She added they were closer than you would expect in a “professional situation”.

She agreed with Gordon Jackson QC, acting for Salmond, that it “raised an eyebrow”.

Mr Jackson asked if it showed a “level of closeness and familiarity” between Salmond and Woman D that you “did not like the look of”.

The witness replied: “That’s fair.”

A man who was an SNP party activist in 2008 was also called as a witness.

He said he’d met Woman A during that period.

Gordon Jackson QC, acting for Salmond, asked if he witnessed any “inappropriate behaviour, unprofessional, bad behaviour” from Salmond.

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The woman , known as Woman H, accuses Mr Salmond of trying to rape her at Bute House in A witness does not recall a seeing woman Alex Salmond allegedly attempted to rape on the night of Players sing songs in the changing room after their game of football at Hackney Marshes in London.

Woman claims Scottish former first minister wanted to mimic ‘scantily clad’ image. Former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond : denies all 13 charges including one of They did not withdraw support but decided to change the office rota to ensure women were never alone with Mr Salmond .

He replied: “I certainly never witnessed any and I never heard anything at all in that respect.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, who led the police investigation into Salmond, also gave evidence.

She told how she declined to take a copy of the government's “conclusions report” from its internal investigation of Salmond.

She said if she was going to do an “objective investigation” then she didn’t want to be “unconsciously tainted by someone else’s opinions and conclusions, no matter who they were”.

Mr Jackson asked if the investigation was “very extensive”.

Ms Boal replied: “I would say thorough.”

Asked how many statements the police took during the investigation, she said it was 386.

Salmond faces 13 charges of alleged offences against 9 women, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to.

The charges span a period between June 29 2008 and November 11 2014, with one sexual assault said to have taken place in the month of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

Salmond - who was Scotland's first minister from 2007 to 2014 - faces a number of other sexual assault charges, as well as two indecent assault charges.

His trial continues.

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