ALEX Salmond has canceled his appearance in the Holyrood investigation into him after his evidence was censored with the advice of prosecutors he had severely criticized.
The former First Minister had to testify under oath tomorrow, but withdrew after parliament edited his submission in line with requests from the Crown Office.
He has offered to appear in the country on Friday, but this is conditional on him receiving further legal advice.
The move followed a bitter row over parliament’s confusing treatment of his evidence.
Shortly before Mr Salmond was ousted, Labor MSP Neil Findlay warned that parliament was suffering a “credibility crisis” over material censorship.
Tory MSP Adam Tomkins said Holyrood had made a “shameful historic mistake” in folding in the Crown Office.
Such criticism is now likely to grow.
Mr Salmond’s decision came after a day of furious maneuvering and blaming the Games in Holyrood over evidence the parliament published on its website Monday night.
In it, the former First Minister accused Nicola Sturgeon of continuing to defraud parliament and violate the ministerial code – an act of resignation she vehemently denies.
The Crown Office raised “major concerns” with the Scottish Corporate Parliamentary Body (SPCB), the cross-party management group which had sanctioned the publication.
Prosecutors warned that some of the materials could violate a court order in relation to Mr Salmond’s criminal trial.
READ MORE: MSP warns Holyrood of ‘credibility crisis’ over Alex Salmond censored evidence
At an emergency meeting this morning, the SPCB then agreed to reinstate the filing “in line with presentations from the Crown Office”.
Mr Salmond’s 36-page submission on the ministerial code was removed from the parliament’s website and republished with five of his 33 sections replaced with purple stripes.
Surprisingly, one of the deleted paragraphs is not entirely unrelated to Mr Salmond’s criminal trial and alleges that Ms Sturgeon violated the Scottish Ministerial Code by making a “false” statement to Holyrood in 2019.
Other claims to the same effect remain unaffected.
The investigation is looking at how the Scottish Government conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Mr Salmond by civil servants in 2018.
He overturned the exercise in a judicial review in January 2019, showing he had been unfair, illegal and “tainted by apparent prejudice”.
He was later charged with sexual assault but cleared of all charges in a High Court trial last March.
Government mistakes left the taxpayer with a prej 512,000 bill for his legal expenses.
Following his victory in the civil case, Mr Salmond was charged with sexual assault but cleared of all counts in a High Court trial last March.
In response to the SPCB’s response, Mr Salmond’s attorneys said there was “no legal basis” for them, and asked to see the reasons on which the edits were made.
They also warned their client that he might withdraw from tomorrow’s show.
Mr Salmond had made the publication in an acceptable form as a precondition for his testimony so that his allegations could be presented in the final investigation report and used to cross-examine witnesses.
Glasgow-based Levy & McRae-based David McKie said: “While things stand, we have advised him that the apparent intervention by the Crown suggests that there should be a material risk to him when talking about his appearance. He cannot be ruled out. in law risk “.
Mr Salmond was said to have been “alarmed by the Office of the Crown’s interference in a parliamentary inquiry”, especially after a related legal issue earlier this month tried to clarify the matter.
The move reinforced his “concerns” about the Crown Office under Attorney General James Wolffe QC, whom he criticized in other parts, without censorship of his final appearance.
Mr Salmond also claims there was a conspiracy by senior SNP figures, including Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, party chief executive Peter Murrell, to harm and even imprison him.
He said the Crown Office was keeping material from the investigation that would prove this, and raising false objections to the revelation while “defending some of the most powerful people in the country”.
He said he also said Mr Wolffe was “clearly conflicted” in his dual role as Scotland’s ombudsman and chief legal adviser to the Scottish Government, while the Crown Office under his leadership “simply was not fit for purpose “.
READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon challenges Alex Salmond to try ‘plot’ against him
In response to the first letter of Mr. McKie, the senior parliamentary official, refused to share the legal basis for the edits.
Investigator Linda Fabiani also offered Mr Salmond the opportunity to speak with his other evidence today based on written instructions “on the question parameters”.
In response, Mr. McKie said: “As we made clear, a significant portion of the client’s evidence was deleted without reference to him, which has created a significant legal barrier to his oral evidence.
“This obstacle requires careful consideration and reflection, as well as legal advice.
“In light of all these factors, it was clear that both our client and we needed time to consider this material shift in position.
“Furthermore, he is traveling from Aberdeenshire and would not have time to conduct a meaningful discussion at the time allowed for his rehearsal session.
“These are important issues that need to be addressed responsibly.
“It is now clearly impossible for him to take part in these circumstances tomorrow, but he remains ready to take part on Friday.”
It is understandable that the investigation can now vote on whether to take evidence from him on Friday.
Its members SNP and Green have previously voted Unionist members in controversial evidence decisions.
The SPCB is chaired by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and includes an EMP from each of the five Holyrood parties.
SNP MSP George Adam said the PMVs at the SPCB who agreed to publish Mr Salmond’s evidence owed parliament an apology.
He said: “For the parliament that seems to be violating a contempt of court order, against legal advice and despite being warned in advance, it is a shame.”
Mr Tomkins, a law professor at the University of Glasgow, wrote on Twitter: “The history of parliaments in this country is that we stand up to the Crown. But not today. Today a parliament was folded. This is not a farce. It is a tragedy. “And it is a shameful, historic mistake.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Parliament said: “Mr. Salmond has informed the Committee that he will not attend tomorrow’s meeting to give evidence.
“The committee will instead meet privately to discuss the implications of Mr Salmond’s response and the next steps in his work.”
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