The women who brought 13 charges, including sexual assault and attempted rape, against former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond have said they were left “devastated” after he was found not guilty.
The former first minister, who has always vigorously denied the allegations, was almost a week ago cleared of all charges brought against him at Edinburgh’s High Court, but the complainants maintained that bringing their case had been the “right thing to do” and said they “would not let it define us.”
The nine women who accused him released a statement, addressed to the public, imploring them to “take strength in calling out bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault wherever it takes place.”
They wrote: “We are devastated by the verdict. However it is our fervent hope that as a society we can move forward in our understanding of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
They recalled that Salmond’s lawyer, Gordon Jackson QC, had quoted Woman H and said “his client should have been a ‘better man’.”
In her evidence to the court, Woman H had said: “I wish for my life the first minister was a better man and I was not here.”
Jackson had told the jury: “If in some ways the former first minister had been a better man, I wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t be here, none of us would be here,” but described the behaviour exhibited by Salmond as “trivial”.
Speaking to this, the women said: “The behaviours that Alex Salmond and his defence team admitted to in evidence were not and are not trivial.
“Today we want to send a strong and indisputable message that such behaviours should not be tolerated – by any person, in any position, under any circumstances. ”
In the statement, released by Rape Crisis Scotland, the women described the process of taking the case to court as “traumatic”, but thanked both Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for “taking our experiences seriously and for...