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Women who accused Salmond of sexual assault are ‘devastated’ by his acquittal

NINE women who made sexual assault allegations against Alex Salmond said they have been left “devastated” after he was cleared in court of all charges.

But in a joint statement issued by the charity Rape Crisis Scotland today, the women insisted that they would not let the former first minister’s acquittal define them.

The statement reads: “We hope through shining a light on our experiences, it will serve to protect and empower women in the future.

“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.”

The former SNP leader was cleared of the 13 charges he had been facing, including an allegation of attempted rape, by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh last Wednesday.

The complainers, identified in the trial only as Women A to K to protect their anonymity, said: “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 said the process of taking the case to court had been “traumatic” but thanked Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for “taking our experiences seriously and for allowing our voices to be heard.”

They continued: “Many of us did speak up at the time of our incidents but were faced with procedures that could not deal with complaints against such a powerful figure.

“Others were silenced by fear of repercussions. It was our hope, as individuals, that through coming forward at this time we could achieve justice and enact change.

“We remain firm in our belief that coming forward to report our experiences and concerns was the right thing to do.

“But it is clear we alone cannot achieve the change we seek.

“We should all take strength in calling out bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault wherever it takes place.

“And we should all seek to create an environment in which people can challenge and report these behaviours without hesitation or fear of retribution.”

The Daily Record reported today that defence counsel Gordon Jackson had been recorded in public divulging the identities of two of the women, discussing tactics to discredit one in court and saying that Mr Salmond, his own client, was an “objectionable bully.”

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