Tuesday, March 2

More wasted days

Lady Dorrian’s full judgement and reasoning in respect of last week’s hearing involving The Spectator has been published on the Scottish Courts website.

It contains nothing that those who listened in on the case by telephone last week didn’t hear for themselves – it’s simply an 11-page summary of what was debated in court and casts no new light on what Lady Dorrian said at the time.

We’ll be very interested to see whether or not The Spectator – or perhaps more to the point its lawyers, who we must presume had vetted and cleared the initial publication just as Alex Salmond’s lawyers had – now feels able to restore the redacted paragraph that it removed after what it can now be publicly revealed was a threat from the Crown Office (a threat also received by this website).

The magazine’s response today is non-committal on the subject.

While it is this site’s belief that the paragraph in question DOES NOT identify anyone as a complainer – the Crown Office has not communicated which “other evidence” it feels could be combined with the paragraph, which makes no reference whatsoever to the criminal case, to provide identification – the restoration of the missing paragraph would certainly appear to provide circumstantial evidence to that effect, something which would be entirely due to the intervention of the Crown Office.

But overall, the needless delay in publishing this document has merely run down the clock on the inquiry by another week – time that it can ill afford – without providing any real additional clarity.

(We’re a bit puzzled as to why The Spectator’s counsel appears to have given up so easily on the second element of their application, which sought to specifically permit the publication of both Salmond and Geoff Aberdein’s written evidence.)

The fact that the judgement wasn’t released yesterday probably means, at a minimum, no more evidence sessions until next week, as the committee generally only meets on Tuesdays. We hope that doesn’t become a crucial issue, but we fear that the written judgement is sufficiently tepid that the crooked SNP members of the committee, and the spineless Andy Wightman, will use it to justify rejecting Salmond’s evidence and therefore hearing from him in person, rendering the entire undertaking moot anyway.

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