Former Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond appeared in court on 24 January after having been charged the previous day with two attempted rapes, nine sexual assaults, two indecent assaults, and a breach of the peace.
In line with Scottish legal procedures for “solemn” serious cases, the hearing was held in private and Salmond was not required to enter a plea. After the hearing Salmond told reporters that he was “innocent of any criminality whatsoever”.
Scotland’s strict contempt of court laws limited the scope for comment about the case, in line with the basic principle that people are innocent until proven otherwise. That did not stop the outer fringes of Scottish nationalism claiming that the charges were yet another British conspiracy. Their Unionist counterparts waxed delirious about the court appearance of “the fat pieman”, while remaining just short of crossing the line into contempt. The legal proceedings could easily continue for a year or more.