Friday, 24 August 2018

We must also defend opponents from injustice



Yesterday I was informed that in 2013 I physically assaulted two people at my work. When I asked what I was supposed to have done and to whom, I was told that this was confidential. When I asked whether there was any physical evidence that I had assaulted these people, I was told that there was none. There were no photographs. Neither of the complainants had gone to a doctor. In fact there was no evidence at all that I had done anything wrong apart from their witness statements. When I asked whether there was more than one witness to each of the supposed assaults, I was told that there was only one. In each case someone has accused me of physically assaulting them at some point in 2013, but there was no more evidence than that. How am I to defend myself?


 The problem is that I can only very generally remember 2013. I couldn’t tell you for certain what I was doing on any day in that year. I simply don’t remember. I might be able to look up diaries or check other sources of information, but otherwise if you asked me what I was doing on November 15th 2013 I wouldn’t have a clue. I couldn’t even tell you with certainty that I was in the UK. I might have been on holiday.

So if I don’t know who has accused me and I don’t know what it is I am supposed to have done or when, I have no way of saying I didn’t do that, because I don’t even know what that refers to. I might remember generally that I have never physically assaulting anyone, but I can’t specifically defend myself against an accusation unless I know what it is.

My guess is that if someone accused me of physically assaulting them five years ago, but with no more evidence than their witness statement, no-one would even bother to investigate. Likewise if I said that my house was broken into five years ago, but I have no evidence for this apart from my witness statement, the police are not going to waste any time trying to discover the supposed criminals. If I say that I witnessed a murder, but there is no evidence even that the supposed victim is dead let alone that I saw it, my witness statement will not be taken seriously. I will likely be accused of wasting police time.

I disagree with Alex Salmond politically, but justice ought to transcend political difference. We have rules about evidence for burglary, for murder, for physical assault and for fraud etc. that depend on objectively verifiable facts. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and in order to be proven guilty there has to evidence that proves that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I am in no danger of going to jail for burglary unless witnesses can establish that I broke into the house, my fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime, the stolen goods were found in my house or unless I make a confession. No judge is going to send me to prison because of a single witness statement about a burglary that happened five years ago for which there is no other evidence.

But somehow we have established a class of crimes, which must be investigated even if there is only a single witness who states something happened years ago and there is no other evidence at all. This single witness statement which would not be enough to convict someone of burglary, murder, physical assault or fraud, is taken seriously in only one type of case. These cases always involve sex.

Why should there be a special class of crime for which the normal rules of evidence are suspended? Would you feel safe if a single witness could convict you of burglary, murder, physical assault or fraud, even if there was no other evidence? I wouln’t. So why should that single witness be enough to convict someone in a case involving sex?

There is something deeply unjust going on in the world at the moment. People’s reputations are ruined because someone makes a claim, which may or may not be true, but for which there cannot possibly be any other evidence.

Imagine there was a ceilidh in Aberdeen in 2013 and I went to it. Imagine if now in 2018 a man complains that I put my hand up his kilt and sexually assaulted him. How am I supposed to prove whether I did or I didn’t? The only witnesses are me and the man. Who are you supposed to believe? There may be all sorts of reasons why this man wants to ruin my reputation. On the other hand I may have assaulted him. But it is simply impossible for us to find out now.  He should have complained there and then during the ceilidh in 2013. Perhaps then it might have been possible to determine what happened. But there is no point whatsoever waiting five years and then making claims that cannot be verified either way.

I have no idea what Alex Salmond did or didn’t do. But I dislike intensely how people’s reputations are being ruined because of accusations that cannot justly be proved one way or the other. We have already seen how Cliff Richard’s life was shattered by accusations that turned out to be false. Leon Britton died while being accused of abusing children based on evidence that later turned out to be discredited. Other people’s lives have likewise been ruined because of accusations about things that supposedly happened decades ago.

Sexual crimes are as serious as any other crime and people who commit them deserve to be punished severely, but the evidence that convicts must be just as strong as in the case of burglary, murder, physical assault and fraud. This is not least because sexual crimes are so serious, are rightly severely punished and have a more damaging effect on someone’s reputation than most other crimes.

I think Metoo has become a very dangerous witch-hunt, which is leading to great injustice. For this reason it is deeply immoral. The only way to stop it is this. People who make claims of any form of sexual assault must be told that they have to make the claim immediately and provide evidence which corroborates their claim to having been assaulted. Making a statement that you were sexually assaulted five years ago without any other evidence should have no more likelihood of convicting anyone than making such a claim about a physical assault or a burglary.

There is not a special class of witness whose evidence ought automatically to be believed. We do not in Britain think that the witness statement of one man is worth that of two women. It would be equally contrary to justice to suppose that when a woman accuses a man of sexual assault that she ought automatically to be believed.

Women’s lives are being ruined by sexual assault and to make it easier for them to convict those they accuse they are routinely given anonymity. But the lives and reputations of those who are accused are often ruined too. Cliff Richard, I suspect, is at least as damaged because of the false accusations made against him than many victims of sexual assault. For this reason only those actually convicted of sexual assault should have their names revealed in the papers.

Whether innocent or guilty the name of Alex Salmond is liable forever to be associated with whispers about sexual assault. If it turns out that he is innocent, this will be very unjust indeed. It would be far better if none of us knew about this case until and unless Mr Salmond is convicted. But for the sake of justice let him also know what he is accused of, let him have a chance to defend himself and if he is convicted of anything let it require more than just his word against that of someone he perhaps hardly even remembers.

86 comments:

  1. As a male who was assaulted by a priest when a student many years ago I have to say I partly disagree. I was assisting a well known senior married with children man by driving him to an International conference where he was speaking. This involved several days in an hotel. There I was woken up repeatedly through the night. I was told 'I love you, what are you thinking' I was worn down and terrified he started massaging my legs and said I had to overcome ny 'sexual 'fear. Several days of middle of the night massages later I allowed this man to perform oral sex on me. I was not physically hurt. Several years later I got a phonecall from a friend who told me this man had been dismissed and the diocese wanted anyone who wanted to to write to them. I did with an honest description of his behaviour. I never got a reply. My wife started blaming me saying I was an adult and must have been secretly gay. It was devastating and traumatic and I ended up in hospital being treated for depression with ECT. I had no idea it was still used. The problem is the nature of this type of offense is very subtle and leaves no provable trace. Facing the social cost of admitting victimhood can be severely traumatic. However in principle I agree that bringing unprovable accusations years later is to employers or police has to be done with the utmost caution or not at all. In my case the revelation of one brave pissed-off wife lead to at least eight victims coming forward with similar testimony.

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  2. Don't know all of the facts,so can't really comment.However, there is such a thing as the Moorov doctrine in scots law.'The proof of separate incidents.So inter related by time, character and circumstance as to afford a mutual corroboration of each other.

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    1. and that is why we have two accusers

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    2. What is most troubling about this accusation and the accusers isd the wait of 5 years to deploy their argument.. As a feminist I can let you know.. if someone touched me.. not only would they but the world would know of the grievance.. In this case they waited to weaponize and deploy their accusations..that calls their actions into question.. and sadly, creates an environment that will in future make it very difficult for women to come forward who suffer in these situations in the workplace.

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    3. We don't know whether they did or didn't say anything at the time. The SNP method of investigating these things changed at some point this year after the Mark McDonald debacle.The party itself no longer investigates this, it goes elsewhere. So perhaps at that stage when it was changed or being talked about changing they decided to speak out for the first time, or again. Who knows? I guess if it goes to court it will come out then. Whether it gets to court is another story.

      Broadly I reckon its a tough one. You want things that HAVE happened to be dealt with. You don't want things to be buried and folk that have experienced things to be left. Yet it doesn't seem right for people to have their reputations trashed by folk who are at it. I don't know what to think here. I know what I think of Salmond as a politician, but I have no idea what he gets up to in private. Not many will do. You have to hope whatever goes on here that its done right for everyones sake. As Lily says, anyone could say anything about you from the past and you can be named and the mud sticks even if you did nothing. Thats not right.We have seen other well known folk put in a similar situation and then it turned out to be drivel. And we have seen cases where something did happen.

      I am not sure what the best way forward in these sort of things is. It will need to be done under current process just now regardless. Whatever went to its now been passed on to the police so it will be up to them to build any case.

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  3. There may well be evidence. If someone were to accuse me of assaulting them in 2013 and could give details of the layout of my house at the time as well as distinguishing physical features of an intimate nature then I would have a case to answer. Further physical evidence such as semen = slam dunk.

    I'm not saying any of that exists in the Salmond case. We don't know. But we do know that the Scottish Government would have fought tooth and nail to avoid this going further if the case were a frivolous one. Salmond is like a God to the yes movement. A stain on him shatters the whole illusion of yesser moral superiority.

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    1. The fact you link this to the Yes movement says everything about you and perhaps reveals why this is suddenly in the news.

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    2. Your final sentence speaks volumes about yourself.

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    3. Politicising this demeans your reply, but sadly confirms why this has been pounced on by the mainstream media.

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    4. A well written article by a political blogger who exercised balance, fairness and logic and applied it to the topic and net the person. Then we have Aldo who cannot contain his desire to attack an entire movement because the opportunity overwhelms self control.

      Well done Effie and hang your head Aldo

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    5. Too right I'm excited about this. If you're a unionist in Scotland, you've been waiting years for a break - praying that one day there will be a spectacular unforced error on the part of the SNP that would heavily damage them and level the playing field.

      This may be it.

      But I'm not being completely selfish in this. Justice must be served for victims of sexual assault, if indeed the law determines that someone has been the victim of such an assault.

      We will all have to wait and see.

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    6. Unionist, waiting years?.....it's almost as if the overwhelming burden of the media on your side kicking the SNP at every turn while avoiding all the uncomfortable home truths about other parties and their leaders isn't enough. That you've only a fingertip grip on the majority blundering towards brexit, but that can't be right.
      You can't possibly need to sieze upon things of this nature in order to hold onto your overwhelming superiority ...can you . It comes off as if there's a growing sense you'll come off 2nd best.

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    7. I remember Aldo from Paul McConville's Scots Law blog.

      He hasn't changed a bit.

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    8. Waiting years for a break and this story is it LOL maybe its time you look at what you believe in, try to remember you are someone that supports a Westminster Parliament described as the most corrupt on the planet, a Parliament that has committed crimes that include Murder, Illegal War, War Crimes, Terrorism, Torture, Crimes against Humanity, Corruption, Espionage, Treason, Drug Trafficking, Paedophilia, Rape, Indecent Assault, Sex Trafficking, Arson, Blackmail, GBH, Bribery, Insider Trading, Cash for Questions, Asset Stripping, Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Expenses Fraud, Theft, Perjury, Phone Hacking, Spousal Assault, Perverting the Course of Justice, Cover Ups, Cash for Honours, Conspiracy and Forgery ruling over your Birth place. A Parliament that doesn't only cover up for paedophiles they support them as they claim it gains them brownie points with businessmen.

      If this pathetic attempt by someone who used to work for Tory creep David Mundel is your break I feel sorry for you.

      http://order-order.com/2014/07/08/watch-former-tory-whip-boasts-about-paedo-mp-cover-up/

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    9. Stay classy Aldo.....regardless of the truth lets maximise this...nice world view.

      Amazingly this vision of your new union utopia even less appealing now.

      Brother of a mate of mine was involved in such dodgy events, night out in Glasgow. Gets hitched to hen night, ends up in hotel room with girl. She wakes up in morning and has second thoughts...

      He ends up nicked, weekend in cells in a white jump suit. Monday to court, not remanded at least.
      Family find out, his work find out. Investigations continue and it turns out girl concerned has made 3 previous claims the same in England and Wales. Case dropped once her friends statements are taken and CCTV is found of them cavorting in a back alley prior to going to hotel plus hotel CCTV shows them together and everyone having a good time....

      No always means no but you can't say yes then say no when you feel guilty about your fiancee the next day.

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    10. Well, as I said, the law will take its course. I have no bearing on what direction it will take.

      Rodric, you convey quite well exactly what I meant when I talked about yesser moral superiority. Everyone's a villain, except the Scottish Nationalists, who are good and pure of heart. Well, that narrative is now being destroyed. Good. In reality, you are no better and no worse than the politicians you seek separation from.

      The fabled party unity is also now over. Sturgeon and Salmond are now effectively at war. Again, good. You can be distracted and set against each other just as easily as any other set of mortals.

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    11. You are not doing much to undermine that moral superiority Aldo. You are coming across as a bit of a weirdo with some anger issues as regards Yes voters.

      The smokescreen you are now throwing up is highlighting you rather than hiding you.

      Not a big Cliff Richard fan either I'm guessing.....

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    12. Absolute nonsense Aldo. Go and have a wee lie down and recharge your two brain cells

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    13. You can be angry without necessarily having "anger issues" Running Man. The latter implies frequent anger without justification. There is plenty of justification, believe me.

      This hurts the yes movement. I can tell because the responses on here are far more numerous than would usually be the case - and Twitter and Facebook are absolutely teaming with expressions of nationalist outrage. They sense damage and they're not liking it one bit.

      And please don't go down the usual nationalist path of double standards. If this were Ruth Davidson or David Mundell, you guys would be creaming your pants. Yet I'm expected to be all sober and contemplative about it when it happens to someone I absolutely loathe? I don't think so somehow.

      And should he fall victim to an unjust law, well, all I can say is, he helped write them - and presumably sent many others to the same fate. But nobody cares about those guys. Their surname isn't Salmond.

      F*ck him.

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    14. Please Aldo how does one mans action no matter who he is damage a whole movement? if that was true the Union would have been destroyed 10 times over in 2014. We have dirt on Mundell and Davidson the media just don't pursue them (Dark money etc) This is the difference, Salmond is accused he is immediately available for an Interview, Mundell and Davidson are allowed unpursued to go into hiding. I don't believe YES voters claim a moral superiority but I believe Unionists live life in denial as you have just proved ignoring my previous points. The only reason there is a large response was because this was posted on Wings and Effie posted a very fair interpretation of events. If you look at the comments most are just saying Thank You :)

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    15. He's an important figure in the movement Rodric. If his reputation gets damaged, so does the credibility of his movement. You've got to remember the bar is high for nationalist politicians due to the nature of what they are asking us to do. There are far more trust issues with them than with normal politicians. They need to be perfect or they wont attract a majority of the population to go down their route.

      It's nice you are saying thanks to Effie. Please pop in and say thanks next time too.

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    16. I even saw screenshot of Effie's page with Aldo highlighted on Twitter, quoting his insane diatribe, lets hope you don't go viral Aldo...lolz

      Those nasty natz....

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    17. Nobody knows who Aldo is ;0)

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    18. A shrink now are you Running Man? You'd best get in touch with your ex leader ;0)_r

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    19. I'm not one for reaching out.....

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  4. Cogent points from both Effie and Anonymous 1. Justice us for*all* - including even non-unionists. Equitable and efficacious complaint procedures are required, so that cases are not initiated impractically long after alleged incidents.

    Anonymous 2 and Aldo seem already to have reached certain preliminary conclusions. However, in this country is is (usually) the legal system that decides such matters, by means of due process.

    Both Cornish Effie and Aldo will, of course, de toute façon rejoice that Mr. Alexander Salmond's participation in the public life has been eliminated for the next few months.

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    1. Six plagues on the inventor of predictive text. Bah!

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    2. For 'us' read 'is'.

      For 'Cornish' read nothing.

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    3. By Christ, do you spout shite or what??

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  5. As so often the pendulum of law has swung too far from one direction to the other.

    Correctly, allegations of sexual harassment are now treated seriously, but unfortunately it appears that all too often the de facto default position is that nowadays the accused has to prove their innocence rather than the other way round.

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    1. There is something in what you say. More efficacious and equitable process in the treatment of such complaints would benefit all parties concerned.

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    2. You have that right.

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  6. The real story here is that some person(s) have illicitly released these accusations. They should be charged. As Mr Salmond to date does not even know what he is accused off yet insinuations are across every paper in the land the chance of any fair outcome in the longer term after this deliberate defamation are now nil.
    In most cases such action prejudicial to any balanced outcome would result in any legal proceedings being abandoned.

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    1. The papers that have published should be penalised

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    2. If - as is very possible - any proceedings are abandoned as a result of being compromised by these leaks, Salmond will be left with a stain on his reputation he can never shake off. Which is entirely predictable. Now, whyever might someone want to take actions which would blot his escutcheon?

      The complainants will rightly be protected by their anonymity.

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    3. Exactly so: this is an attempt to interfere with process of law. The perpetrators have merited severe penalties.

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    4. If you wanted to create a highly damaging and pejorative smear against an opponent you had barely managed to lay a finger on for over a decade, how would you go about it?

      You'd want there to be a formal process that has confidentiality at its core. Check.

      You'd want a media that you knew loathed your opponent at least as much as you do which you could be sure would seize on any 'tasty morsel' to damage them. Check

      You'd want to target a high profile person in the group or body you want to smear. Check

      You'd want to leak just so much information to the media. The name of the target, obviously, and the nature of the allegations you've arranged to be made. You're already distant from the actual allegations and there's no way to link you to the people making the allegations. Check


      Result? If there turns out to be sufficient evidence to merit a police investigation that leads to a conviction under criminal law, you've won a years worth of lotteries. On the other hand if there's no evidence at all and the investigation concludes there's no case to answer, the people making the allegations get to walk away anonymity intact. Those who organised and coordinated the smear campaign remain anonymous and confident that their part in the whole thing will never be known, or at least proven. The target is left with their personal character seriously damaged at best. The group or movement they're associated with is somehow also left damaged.

      That's how it's usually done anyway, isn't it? Look familiar?

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  7. Never thought the day Effie would write so eloquently about Alex Salmond. Trouble is Effie is spot on, what kind of country have we become because of ideological hatered of a large, alomost a majority section of Scotland that desires an end to the 1707 Union.

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  8. What???? I have rarely read a more incoherent statement than the one from "The Engineer".
    He punched me in the face.But it was my fault for having a face.

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  9. Wee Eck lied, lied and lied again in 2014, quite happy top flush my job, savings and pension down the bog for his own self-aggrandisement.

    If he's become Trotsky to Nippy's Lenin (with a sex-abuse ice-pick), then quite frankly I'm still rejoicing to see him brought down.

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    1. Typical British nationalist tosh. My job, savings and pension are going down the pan because of the No vote and the BritNat Brexit that has followed; that's real, your assertions are fairytales. Yours is the absolute moronic mindset that plagues unionism, a mindset that even my unionist friends are thoroughly embraced by. The only real problems affecting us all today are problems that stem directly from unionism. You voted down independence, it didn't happen. Thus, everything that is happening is on you and there's no point talking about 2014, because it's in the past, it didn't happen then and you have no idea how things would have panned out. Your unproven, spurious assertions are meaningless and pathetic, not least in the face of very real calamity that is affecting the whole of the UK and is squarely down to you and those who voted with you. All that aside, none of this is about independence vs British nationalism, it's about natural justice, the founding principles of our legal system and the rule of law. Even Effie Deans can see that. You must be quite some prize turkey if you can't.

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    2. *embarrassed by

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    3. No wonder you are anonymous after writing that Garbage.When you have to resort to "We nippy" etc it shows the minute size of you're so called Brain also it shows you are a COWARD! hiding behind a Keyboard!

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    4. If the UK union and hence no voters are responsible for all the bad stuff that has happened since 2014, then by the same logic, the EEC/EU and europhiles are responsible for everything bad that has happened since 1973 😂

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  10. Anonymous Your hatred of the SNP shines through. Where is your innocent till proved guilty?

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  11. Anonymous Your hatred of the SNP shines through. Where is your innocent till proved guilty?

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  12. Some people just cannot see past the name Alex Salmond - this colours their thinking and their comments .
    Imagine yourself or a loved one anonymously accused of unspecified misdemeanours , having your name passed to the police for investigation , then being the subject of a media feeding frenzy who , true to their deep moral standards, accuse you without any evidence of every offence under the sun bar the killing of JFK , find you guilty and vicariously write your death notice .
    This type of anonymous accusation , where one side is identified and vilified without a shred of proof , is undermining the basic human right that we are all , whoever we are , innocent until proven guilty in a court of law - not in the corrupt circus that passes for the media in the UK today .

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    1. Alex will have people who find it hard to beleve he has done this, only time will tell. It is imperative that the yes movement stay focused and don't under any circumtances get involved in fruitless bickering with the tories and red tories who wil be loving every minute of this. We have to remain focused and get on with the job as the next Indy vote Isn't about Alex it's about the future of Scotland for our children.
      It's Dunfermline on Saturday and hope we will turn out in numbers we have to fight brexit so the control of Scotland can be in our hands. Westminster is corrupt and has no interest in Scotland besides our oil income which it takes most off. A no deal brexit and Theresa May's constant communication with a man that hes probably interfered with half the woman in America to privatise our NHS and sell it off which could lead to people not being able to affrd the care we need must be our number one target roll on Independence

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  13. A well argued piece. wholeheartedly agree.

    It's true that such allegations are, correctly, taken more seriously than in the past. However there is now a gross disparity in how the accused can have their name dragged through the mud, while the accuser is protected. The minimum that natural justice demands is that ALL parties have anonymity.

    As a supporter of Scottish Indepence your article reminds me that when Unionist figures are unjustly accused then it is the duty of all democrats to point out injustice when we see it. Respect.

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  14. Thank you Effie,
    Well said.
    Justice and fairness should transcend politics if British values are to mean anything. The leaking of this story has done neither the complainants nor Mr Salmond any favours. Mud slinging by those who dislike Mr Salmond and conspiracy theories by those who like him does no good for either constitutional view point.

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  15. Effie's comments are well put and I do agree with them. As Anonymous correctly states Moorov doctrine in scots law is enough to convict without any other evidence being present.'The proof of separate incidents.So interrelated by time, character and circumstance as to afford a mutual corroboration of each other. For example in the case of claims of historic sex offences there is often a request from the police for people to come forward if they "have" been abused by a
    named individual.Their statement can be used as collaboration in this way and justify a prosecution and in many a cases conviction. Even without this corraboration, once in court the accuser is described in law as the "VICTIM" even although no offence has yet been proved. The "victim/s" may be eligible for an award under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme even if the assailant is not known, or is not convicted.There is an ongoing debated as to whether or not this compensation scheme is an influencing factor in many claims of historic sex abuse.Make no mistake most complainants are successful and receive payments, often tens of thousands of pounds. There is no fear of retribution for false claims as the complainant remains anonymous throughout. Even if they have made similar claims before against other individual/s their anonymity is assured. There are many men serving custodial sentences who still protest their innocence despite the fact that they forfeit any reduction in sentence as a consequence. Sexual crimes are hienous but the Law needs reforming to protect both the accuser and the accused. Alex Salmond will find it difficult to have a fair hearing in the press but an even more difficult one in court if it goes that far.

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    1. As a victim you have no rights what so ever regarding evidence. You have no chance of ever being able to ask questions regarding evidence. You are questioned time and time again. Constantly going over trauma. As a criminal you get to say no comment right up to the moment your lawyer gets all DNA evidence. Then you get to make up a fictional story that is used to explain how the DNA may have gotten there. Some of these stories are ridiculous beyond belief...but a good story by a lawyer...the ability to smear a victim to make them look less deserving as a human being and as a victim...works. They play on juries own preducies. So whilst people are on here saying. Many victims are looking at ways to gain money through rape or sexual assault.Is totally insulting. Statistically 92% OF ALL victims of rape and sexual assault NEVER report it. Of the 8 % stupid enough to do so. 55% of the accused WALK FREE. That's with DNA evidence against most of them. Unless you've been there yourself you cannot even begin to imagine the effects of the total lack of justice for victims. The amount of money spent on these cases is the reason why many fail. Evidence that could be sought isn't. The victim can't question anything until the case is over and obviously by then it's too late. Victims are DENIED the same legal rights as the perpetrator. Alex Salmond has little chance of ever being convicted of these offences even if he did do it.There will be no evidence whatsoever

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  16. So you are Judge and Jury now? eh Effie.. as they say in Russian ''Rotza croy''

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    1. As they may say in reply 'Altynnogo vora veshayut, a poltinnogo chestvuyut'.

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  17. Can't disagree with any of that, Ms Deans. Nice to see that we can sometimes agree.

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  18. Ms Deans, I am a committed believer that Scotland would be better off out of this cursed Union. In that we disagree, but, might I, as a political opponent of yours, congratulate you on this excellent, and very-fair blog post. Well-wrtten and well done.

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  19. Excellent article, you will possibly notice this blog is experiencing more hits than usual, the YES movement is gobsmacked and spreading your word :) Thanks for your fairness.

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  20. There is little in politics on which we agree.

    You have blocked me on Twitter.

    BUT thank you for this thoughtful and balanced article.

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  21. Thank you for this balanced article. You have shown that although people can disagree politically, matters such as this are above and beyond partisanship.
    The feeding frenzy in our press is demeaning to us all.
    Never thought I would be in a position to say this to you but Many Thanks. I feel some of your colleagues should sit down and have a chat with you.

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  22. Thank you Effie.
    I found your comments fair and balanced and well put together. WHATEVER our political views, justice has to be seen to be done and BOTH complainants and accused deserve the same treatment - both 'victims' until a judgement is concluded. But pre-judging does NEITHER of the the people involved any service. And trial be media is wrong on EVERY count. There are MANY questions to be answered in this whole affair and while I don't see all of them being answered, I agree with you that we must give both sides the benefit of the doubt until the police have made their decision as to how this will proceed. It is that tenet on which our democracy is based: 'Innocent until proven guilty'. if we allow anyone to interfere with that, we do ALL OF US a disservice.

    We are on opposite sides in the political arena Effie, but I thank you for your balanced article and your fairness.

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  23. Clear, cogent and concise Effie Deans, and a reminder to everyone that the rule of law should always transcend politics and opinion.

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  24. Aldo, this will not effect the SNP and to think otherwise is naive. I refer to several high profile Tories in this current Parliament. Lets not forget Cameron & the pig. The Scot Tory councillor charged with paedophilia this year. Looking back there was Jeremy Thorpe. None of this impacted support for there respective parties. Given Mr Salmond is not currently a politician also makes it less politically impacting. And whether you like her or not, the FM’s statement and interviews demonstrated a level of leadership that the PM or indeed Davidson have not exhibited.
    I make no comment on the alleged case as none of us know the facts.

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    1. You seem to think that the SNP and the "other" parties are treated the same. Surly that is naive. Don't believe me? Look at todays press then do a quick Google search to see how many articles you find regarding pig gate. And this is just day 1.

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    2. Hello Linda. People expect it from the tories. People expect it from the liberals. You mentioned Jeremy Thorpe. Having a gay sex scandal was pretty much a rite of passage in the lib dems at one time. I wonder if Vince Cable has ever done it? 🤣

      The SNP was supposed to stand apart from this. They were supposed to be better. They were supposed to be the cub from the Lion King who deposes his evil uncle. Now we find out a guy who basically IS the SNP could be guilty of sexual assault.

      It shatters the illusion.

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    3. Very sensible, Linda - in fact, the only rational response. Such matters are so important, both to individuals and to society as a whole, that no decent person would indulge in speculation regarding them, let alone express it in public.

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  25. I concur with many on here who thank you for your balanced opinion on this matter , the other disgraceful comments show the unbalanced attitudes of the win at any cost brigade , where truth , integrity and fairness have become an irrelevance. Like others commenting I am a firm and dedicated supporter of independence for Scotland but I abhor the despicable manipulation of truth by the MSM and broadcasters financed by dark money to subvert democracy and common sense . Make no mistake whether you support the union or independence we Scots will ALL be the losers if we allow these corrupters to continue unabated . Again thanks for this article

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  26. Thanks, Effie for a resheshingly well balanced article.

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  27. Effie, I'm gobsmacked! This is a well thought out, well written, balanced article, and I'm not just saying that because it mirrors my thoughts exactly.

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  28. This is a well thought out blog and where an adult is concerned as the complainant and not under any control by the perpetrator, then yes I whole heartedly agree with you. I am the type that likes Alex, likes his policies and nodded at every single yes event up and down the country pre 2014. I would be remiss to say that I cannot smell corruption. I can smell it. I just don't know which way it is coming from. However, I am going to disagree with your comments on metoo.

    Give my blog just 10 minutes of your time to read the corruption from within a cult running quite well here in Scotland. It has been investigated by the Australian Royal Commission and has been found severely lacking in it's child protection policies. It has also been found extremely and severely lacking in it's domestic abuse policy where women are told to go home by their religious leaders, pray and hope that the battering and rapes from their husbands will stop. They are told to be in subjection to men, sit down, shut up and let the person with a penis control you. Yep, this is happening in Scotland, right now. And I abhor such behaviour.

    So give my blog post a wee read. You will find that this is happening everywhere. I show you the door of the rabbit hole, and then show you just how deep this problem ends up and still is.

    https://silentlamb2silentnomore.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/my-story-of-surviving-child-abuse-in-a-cult/

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  29. Just reading the comments I wonder if Effie will come to a conclusion of who are the real bad eggs of our society :)

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  30. People ask why did these women not make these accusations back then in 2013.

    Well if you remember rightly this was at z time when the debating on our scottish referendum was on a high.

    Salmond was seen back then as some sort of king, he still is by many of his support.

    A woman coming out then with these accusations against him would have been seen as a ploy in indy supporters minds as a way of stopping or at the very least smearing the indy kings name to put voters off voting yes.

    Dont even say you wouldnt because youre only lying to yourself.

    Like just now not one indy supporter actually believes any of these two womens stories, but at least now after the snp made it easier for abused workers to come forward these women can tell if their treatment at the hands of him no one would have believed because of when it happened in 2013.

    He thought then he could walk on water, but the silent majority melted his rocks, now there may be more women not afraid to come forward with their terrible ordeals at the hands of Salmond.

    Theres nothing to gain now except justice for themselves.

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    1. Seriously this makes no sense, the British media would have loved those woman to come out with this story in 2013. The more dirt the merrier, that's why we had 4 days coverage of an egg being thrown at Jim Murphy and not one peep about the 18 arrests of Unionists. The SNP don't control or have any backing from the 37 Tabloids or the London based BBC/STV and Sky, if those 2 woman had come out in 2013 it would have been a dream for the British media, so that makes it even funnier they didn't.

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  31. Good point about illicit release of confidential information. In my days as a hack, one often was approached by an employee of some public body offering such knowledge in exchange for cash. Usually, one was already in the know. In any event, one recommended that they depart hence fruitfully.

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  32. What next; The ducking Pond ?

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  33. "Like just now not one indy supporter actually believes any of these two womens stories, but at least now after the snp made it easier for abused workers to come forward these women can tell if their treatment at the hands of him no one would have believed because of when it happened in 2013."


    For what it's worth, I don't agree with anybody who has decided on his guilt or innocence - or some that don't care as long as it gives indy a body blow. I'm reserving my judgment until a proper investigation is complete. That seems sensible to me.

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  34. Ironically in Scot's Law corroboration is a requirement. The irony is that the SNP has been trying to remove the requirement for corroboration for years. No need to wonder why now.

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  35. It's refreshing and surprising to see your stance on this, when the temptation for political opponents to rejoice must be overwhelming.

    Looking at it impartially, the principle of anonymity does seem unfair for the accused. I can understand it for children, but not adults. It leaves the door open for someone's reputation to be ruined at no cost.

    It's a good point with Cliff Richard. Let's be honest. Everyone still has doubts about him, even although he could be completely innocent. It's just how it is. No-one should be named unless charges are brought.

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    1. Anonymity should be available to both sides.

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  36. Yes and the people who donaccuse others of sexual assault that are proven to have lied never get charged for making accusations, thats the way it is, meanwhile the accused will always always carry that with them... personally speaking if the accuser can be proven to have lied in statements it should carry a mandatory prison sentence.

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  37. this is unionist trash it will mot put s dent in the indy or yes movement as they hope it will why is this so secretive. where are the accusers in hiding no doubt just another tory or/and labour smear campaign which will not work

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  38. It would help all persons concerned were both accuser and accused permitted to guard their anonymate.

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    1. The civil service and Daily Record seem to have forgotten that....

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  39. Wow. Didn't think I'd ever agree with any of your blog posts, but here we are! Well said!

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  40. "People who make claims of any form of sexual assault must be told that they have to make the claim immediately and provide evidence which corroborates their claim to having been assaulted."

    As much as I can understand the wish to avoid fallacious accusations, I cannot agree with such a statement. There have been numerous cases of criminals convicted years after their crimes were committed and such a requirement simply places even more blame and onus on the victims who we should be protecting.

    No one should be convicted on a "he said, she said" basis - I think we can all agree on that - but we shouldn't make it harder for victims of crimes to stand up and get justice. I think we all have a role in ensuring that we avoid taking accusations as truth, but equally not to immediately decry them as false, and we can't take the effect on the accused's career as a reason to treat them as innocent, because that just protects the powerful.

    You're making the assumption that people are being convicted based on hearsay, and if this were happening, I would be just as outraged, but what I am seeing instead is media coverage tainting people's judgements before a court ruling is heard. "Innocent until proven guilty" should be upheld of course, but it not the fault of the accusers that our media is so easily taken in by scandal. A better way to deal with this situation is to improve anonymity rules, especially in high-profile cases.

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