We’re feeling a bit confused this morning, readers. Maybe someone can help.
Below is the key part of the letter sent by the Clerks of the Scottish Parliament, acting on behalf of the Fabiani committee, to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) a week and a half ago, requesting material for their investigation into the Scottish Government’s botched handling of false allegations against Alex Salmond.
As we told you at the time, the request was a sham, designed to produce nothing of any value, because it carefully excluded the only person whose communications with Sue Ruddick were actually of relevance – SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.
(Murrell being an employee of the party, NOT a member of the Scottish Government, a civil servant or a special adviser.)
But yesterday it all went really weird.
Because after the Scottish Government placed a couple of newspaper stories with tame journalists, in which an anonymous source briefed that the irrelevant messages delivered to the inquiry by COPFS had somehow “destroyed” Salmond’s claims of a conspiracy, it also had its emergency mouthpiece Rape Crisis Scotland ride into the fray – something it only does when it’s in a panic and needs a distraction.
The statement RCS released was bizarre.
But wait a minute. The Clerk hadn’t asked for messages from “people identified by the police and the Crown as victims of sexual harassment” at all.
The Clerk had in fact asked for messages from “Members of the Scottish Government, Scottish Government civil servants and Scottish Government Special Advisers”.
So why had COPFS apparently sent the Clerk a bundle of “private and personal” messages between the alleged victims instead of what it had been asked for?
(And just in passing, why indeed was it still being suggested by RCS, albeit in sneakily weasel-worded terms, that these people were “victims” who should be “believed” when the jury in a criminal trial had decided, after hearing all the evidence, that none of them had in fact been sexually harassed?)
So have Rape Crisis Scotland and COPFS between them just outed all the accusers as being people in the above categories? It’s difficult to reach any other conclusion from the facts above. That would seem extraordinarily reckless, and something which could quite likely lead to their jigsaw identification, in conjunction with other information already published by the Scottish media.
We’re not sure who you report the Crown Office to if you think it’s committed contempt of court, because we’ve been trying to get it to tell us for the best part of a year who it answers to, without success.
Maybe Rape Crisis Scotland will have more luck finding out than we have.