JIM SILLARS LODGES FORMAL COMPLAINT AGAINST THE FIRST MINISTER

25th. February 2021

Ms. Leslie Evans

Permanent Secretary

Scottish Government

St. Andrew’s House

Edinburgh EH1

Dear Ms. Evans, 

FIRST MINISTER IN BREACH OF THE MINISTERIAL CODE ON 24TH FEBRUARY 2021

I wish to lodge a complaint of breaches  of the Ministerial Code by the First Minister on Wednesday 24th. February, 2021. The substance of the complaint, and the facts it is based upon, are set out below.

As the complaint could be seen as being in the context of matters being examined by the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry, to which you have given evidence, you may think it inappropriate for you to be the  official dealing with this complaint. If that is so, then I request that the next person in seniority should take this as addressed to them.  I would like to be informed of who will deal with this complaint, should it not be you.

In her daily press briefings on the pandemic, the First Minister has consistently refused to answer questions on issues other than Covid-19.  Yesterday, however, instead of refusing to respond to questions on matters irrelevant to the purpose of the press briefing on Covisd-19, she deliberately chose to do so. Not once, but five times.  It can be seen here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/mOOOspr6/coronavirus-brefing-reaction-24022021.

You will note “coronavirus briefing.”  The national broadcaster was in no doubt of the purpose of First Minister’s appearance. These briefings have all along had only one purpose. The timings show her response to questions which were asked as the briefing continued. I have had them  double-checked as to times:

30.20 Question from James Matthew (SKY News)

First Minister spoke for 48 seconds on what can fairly be described as the Salmond issue.

32.57 Question from Peter Smith (ITV)

First Minister spoke for 5m 16secs on Salmond issue

52m 49scs Question from Simon Johnson (Daily Telegraph)

First Minister spoke for 1m 36scs on Salmond issue

1h. Question from  Michael Blackley (Daily Mail)

First Minister spoke for 52 seconds on Salmond issue

1h 02m “Question from Richard Percival (Daily Express)

First Minister spoke for 59 seconds on Salmond issue. 

In total, she spent over 9 minutes of a meeting called to inform the public, through the media, including BBC television,  of the government’s continuing action on the pandemic crisis, not to  express her views on clearly  separate matters arising  from the Parliamentary Inquiry. 

Of course, the First Minister was not to know that the first question from James Matthew was not about Covid-19 and government policy in dealing with. But she did not, as on previous occasions, refuse to answer and re-state the purpose the briefing was convened for. Nor did she do that when the second question came from Peter Smith, and the others.  The only conclusion that can be drawn from her action from 30.20 on, points to it being no accident; a deliberate choice. 

When I state “the Salmond issue” above I mean what can be seen from the BBC iplayer – a sustained attack on Mr. Salmond on matters relevant to the Parliamentary Inquiry, but not remotely connected to a Covid briefing. 

The complaint is, therefore,  based on the attacks on Mr. Salmond in a forum that had been arranged by the Scottish Government  to inform the public on a subject, the pandemic, a matter of serious public concern, in which maximum publicity would be given to the words of the First Minister.  It is a gross breach of her duty to use that Government sponsored forum, for a public attack on Mr. Salmond in matters not related to the purpose of a briefing to which the media had been invited. 

I submit that it is a breach of the Ministerial Code to allow, and then use, a public health Covid briefing to launch an attack on Mr. Salmond in the context of matters arising from the Parliamentary Inquiry.  By her conduct as recorded by the BBC, she is in flagrant breach of the Clause 1 of the Code, and Clause 10 governing the conduct of Ministers and the Presentation  of Policy. 

It is not for me to question a decision by the First Minister to make a public attack on Mr. Salmond. But if she wished to do so, then she could have arranged a press conference on the subject, which would have been  the proper and legitimate forum in which to do so. Abusing the Government Covid briefing was neither proper or legitimate.  That is where the Code has been breached. 

However, there are additional breaches of the Code which are quite extraordinary, unique in their gravity, and a matter of deep concern for all who understand the implications of what the First Minister said in those 9 minutes.  

During her attacks on Mr. Salmond she said:

​“The behaviour complained of was found by a jury not to constitute

​criminal conduct and Alex Salmond is innocent of  criminality, but that

​doesn’t mean that the behaviour they complained of didn’t happen

​and I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of that” 

Unlike the First Minister, who did not attend Mr Salmond’s trial, the jury was there for every second. They saw Mr. Salmond,  cross examined, precisely denying that the alleged  behaviour happened. The jury saw and heard prosecution witnesses under cross examination. The jury’s conclusion, with a majority of women on it, was to acquit Mr. Salmond.  If as the First Minister states the jury’s verdict means that the complaints they had before them in evidence did in fact happen, then the only logical conclusion you can draw from her words is that the jury was wrong in its verdict – 13 times. 

Those were weasel words employed by the First Minister, and any reasonable person would draw more than an inference from them that the jury was wrong. The First Clause of the Ministerial Cod (1.1) states that “Scottish Ministers  are expected  to maintain high standards of behaviour and to behave in a way that upholds  the highest standards of propriety.” The First Minister’s comment on the trial verdict, breached those standards.  

I have been in public life for over 60 years, and in the course of it studied how heads of state and governments in the democracies have behaved in office. I cannot recall one single incident when the head of a government so egregiously questioned the verdict of a jury, or event thought it a proper and legitimate discharge of their duty to do so. 

It is vital to the health of a democracy that Government more than any other part of our society maintain a scrupulous distance between it and intervention, even post-trial intervention, in our criminal justice system. That is the standard reflected in Clause (1.1) of the Code. Clause 1.3 states, inter alia,  that Ministers “should uphold the administration of justice.”  The First Minister, knowingly, breached those parts of the Code with her comments on the trial. 

I submit that there is overwhelming evidence that on several counts the First Minister has engaged, deliberately, in grave breaches of the Ministerial Code. 

Jim  Sillars

57 thoughts on “JIM SILLARS LODGES FORMAL COMPLAINT AGAINST THE FIRST MINISTER

      1. Thanks for that.
        Glad I could listen to it. I now see where Jim Sillars was coming from. One of my friends suggested she answered because she was being badgered by the journalists. Absolute rubbish, she had every opportunity to refuse to answer as she has done many times previously. She virtually says the jury was wrong in their verdict and he was guilty.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. I don’t think she should have answered the questions and certainly not in the way she did but to describe it as ‘launching an attack’ seems to me to be overstating the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree, everything she has done has been a personal, full on attack on Alex Salmond, NEVER has she said once that he is innocent., mostly she has tended to imply guilt by her wording.
      If you look the quoted text it is apparent

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Indeed. Even at the end of the trial, she never even had the grace to say she was glad the jury were satisfied he did not do what he was accused of. She never once remarked she was glad ‘her mentor & long time friend’ had been proven to be innocent of all charges. And now we know why… She’s ABSOLUTELY DETERMINED not to give him an inch of respect even if it means Scots lose respect for HER.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. Why am I not surprised that the BBC have removed the link? No doubt at the insistence of Wark or Smith.
    It is sad to see this happening but there is only one person to blame and it’s not Alex.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Very likely Wark or Smith…I tried to get the Warkumentary newsnight ‘re-trial of Alex Salmond’ from last August, but was’nt available anywhere, Had to download it eventually with the help of my vpn..! Well worth re-watching.

      Like

  3. Yep, I saw that briefing live yesterday and I was pretty sure the Britnat journalists would try to wind her up and they certainly succeeded. Her reaction reminded me of a certain Kevin Keegan who when manager of Newcastle united was going up against Fergusons Manchester United. Keegan went on a mad rant on live TV about Ferguson and Sturgeon lost the plot yesterday as well. Her reaction shows the extreme pressure she is under. Hopefully Salmond will put an end to all this and finish her off tomorrow.

    Sturgeons performance today at FMQs was also disgusting. Full of lies and more insinuations about Salmond.

    Well done Jim Sillars.

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Good for Jim Sillars. A true Scot and a towering statesman.

    WE have few of these left – and NONE in the current leadership of the SNP.

    She really has to go

    Liked by 8 people

  5. I think we would all appreciate hearing the outcome of that complaint. Very valid considering how often enquiries on the Referendum etc have been rejected. You cannot apply double standards in this way. This was a misuse of position in order to gain advantage in both the legal evidence appraisal position and in advance of the committee enquiry.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Too true, Geoff. And remember, she is a witness to the Enquiry – yet to give evidence UNDER OATH.

      And Mr Salmond, whose evidence she has tried to scupper at every turn, is yet to be heard by the committee – and has played this by the book – has given no interviews and has spoken (at great expense) only through his solicitors

      It is a gross abuse of power and position – a bully pulpit used by someone with only scraps of integrity left – if any.

      Where is the respect for our ‘democratic’ institutions?

      Liked by 4 people

  6. A simple statement at the beginning of these briefings stating that only COVID related questions will be answered , would suffice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I well remember the last time that Sky’s James Matthew attended, and was granted a question – the opening question on that occasion, a couple of weeks ago. Guess what he was querying. Cue rant in response… Yesterday was only the second occasion that Matthew was in attendance, IIRC. In these days you might be forgiven for hazarding a guess that it could all have been stage managed, especially after his previous appearance.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. The Stinger is in the last section – “ministers should uphold the administration of justice”.

    Sturgeon questioned the adminstration of justice in the Salmond trial.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for that Mr Sillars , I watched that debacle yesterday and was equally outraged , her deliberate statement regarding the trial aquittal was reprehensible and should be highlighted and challenged by the judiciary and with luck Mr Salmond will recover some of his finances from his multitudinous claims of defamation from Sturgeon and others due to their vindictive and scurrilous claims

    Liked by 5 people

  10. The simple facts are that she used her position of authority to attack a private citizen who is not a member of her party.
    In addition she effectively challenged the outcome of a criminal case involving a private citizen in a very public manner. Would she have done so with regard to any other criminal court case?

    This was poor judgement, at the very least, and as a minimum she should formally apologise with the same degree of media coverage.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female and commented:
    The FM answered questions about school exams last year so this isn’t the first time she’s veered from COVID. However, when I heard her say “that ​doesn’t mean that the behaviour they complained of didn’t happen”, that’s when I lost all faith in her.

    I’ve thought for a long time that Murrell should have resigned, but now I think they both should. I feel like I’m in mourning.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Independistas have invested not just time, money and effort but a huge amount of emotion too. This dreadful situation is a huge blow to many of us. I hope it helps you just a little to know that you are not alone in feeling bereft.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. “the importance of the independent role of the Lord Advocate”

      That’s the whole point – the current Lord Advocate isn’t independent at all, instead he’s become Nicola’s attack dog, launching political persecutions against the opposition within the independence movement. ( I said persecution instead of prosecution because that’s what they are).

      The whole statement from the Faculty of Advocates is mealy-mouthed IMHO. I’d be more impressed if they called out NS and her mouthpiece Rape Crisis Scotland for not respecting the jury verdict and James Wolffe for hiding evidence from the Parliamentary Inquiry.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Why doesn’ t Jim Sillars just shut the f… up? He has lost the plot….. And shame on you for sending out this email – we should not be rocking any boats, must all.pull together to have a successful and clear election result, then begin the independence separation from uk. Anyone who indulges in infighting, destroys this opportunity for our freedom, will never be forgiven! I am too old to be around for the next attempt – if that ever comes. Please look at the bigger picture and put your egos away!! Alison Duncan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alison I am 70 years old and have wanted independence most of my life , how dare you tell people to shut up and stop calling out the corruption and lies , what people like you fail to acknowledge is this independence thing is NOT just for SNP members this is for the present and FUTURE citizens of our country, our children and grandchildren , that you are willing to support and vote for a person who has deliberately attempted to DESTROY and imprison an innocent man and has no morality, integrity or honesty says more about you than anything else

      After 2014 we had numerous chances to push for independence but imagining we had a leader who was intelligent ,strong and believed in independence we entrusted that person with control over our dreams and waited patiently for the call to proceed , instead what we got was a coward who wouldn’t fight for Scotland, who allowed prime ministers to belittle and denigrate Scotland, whilst she lied repeatedly in promising a referendum , in the interim this corrupt cowardly liar was more focused on forming policies and laws to undermine and destroy the safety and security of WOMEN, those individuals who form at least 50% of the voting population and who carry,deliver and feed the future citizens of our country our children

      This leader is more focused on pandering to a shower of deviants who considers anyone outside of their mental sex fixated bubble as bigots or phobic

      BUT ALISON expects rational normal people to STFU and vote Nicla

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Dear God Allison, Who are you? Independence will come. But doesn’t rely on this kind of gross incompetence.
      Lets have an honourable freedom of which we can stand be proud. Not this excrement. We’ve worked decades. You want to pollute the final outcome with this?

      Liked by 4 people

  13. Alison Duncan: There is a cataclysmic difference between rocking the boat and sinking the boat. Or, if you prefer the story of the British Navy ship instructing the Irish to clear away from the British Navy ship’s course – we cannot replied the Irish, we’re a lighthouse. Captain Sturgeon is on course to sink the SNP ship.

    And so I believe Sturgeon must go asap before she sinks the ship. And if this coming election is not a plebiscite for independence then, I doubt I’ll be around for the next opportunity.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I think Leslie Evans is not the appropriate person to receive that complaint, given that Sturgeon is her boss. It should have been addressed to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament since it is the SP that holds Ministers to account. A copy to James Hamilton wouldn’t go amiss either.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I cannot recall one single incident when the head of a government so egregiously questioned the verdict of a jury,

    She didn’t, what she said, in the words of the letter itself: “but that ​doesn’t mean that the behaviour they complained of didn’t happen“.

    That’s not questioning the verdict, the verdict was “not guilty” (one “not proven”).

    ——-
    Not proven or not guilty

    This means there was not enough evidence to prove the case ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ or there were other reasons why the accused was not found guilty.
    ——-

    https://www.mygov.scot/criminal-court-case/verdicts/

    It does not mean the complainers lied, as some have claimed elsewhere, and in fact it is completely possible that nobody lied. The jury would have been instructed about that, and as an ex-solicitor, the FM would have known.

    I do wish the Faculty of Advocates had been a bit clearer about what they meant, even if they couldn’t really be clearer about who it was aimed at (everybody in my opinion, no exceptions).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I put up one of your posts because they were making the same argument. You argue there were no lies. How do you explain MISS H who made allegations about events following a dinner which in court was proved to have happened in her absence when she was not even in the building?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That is a disgrace of an argument, ‘yesindyref2’, it’s very clear you’re comfortable with damning a jury for reaching a very obvious, and easy to arrive at, verdict? The evidence is overwhelming, indisputable, that Scotland’s current First Minister has colluded with others to jail a member of the public – that is a quite staggering reality.

      We all know – at least, those who prefer a clean Scotland do – an accused stood trial on the gravest of charges, was tried by a jury of honest, upright and ordinary members of the public, Counsel presented arguments evidence was heard and WITNESSES presented – and a judge presided over this whole legal process. The accused was found innocent. If that doesn’t offer enough example of Law for you, friend, then I suggest you stop believing the versions of this trial pumped out by unionist print media and television documentary.

      Now let’s get onto the actual events following the process of that Court of Law.
      We all know – at least those of us following this scandal – who met on the 28th March 2018, and we all know what was discussed. We also all know the type of charges brought against Salmond; if you feel, for example, that ‘pinging’ of hair is a charge worthy of bringing a person to a Court of the People then I pray you’re never allowed near a jury of the law.
      On a more serious matter, I would think the gravity of concocting an attempted rape charge is about as criminal as we can find in a modern society: if you are factually condoning this – and it certainly appears this way – then perhaps you really need to search yourself for a glimmer of decency?
      In fact, I’m done with trying to point to the flaw in your character – frankly, you are a disgrace to this movement, not worthy of being a part of the Scotland we’re trying to build, and you should seriously consider a profound apology and a request to have your comment removed.

      If we permit the ravages of criminality, encourage it, give it platform, then I fear for the future of this country, the direction of Government and the wellbeing of our citizens.
      Actually, no – I don’t fear for the future of this country, for I firmly believe right will prevail so long as someone speaks out against criminality and corruption – just as Iain Lawson’s blog, many other blogs, members of public and MEMBERS OF A JURY are prepared to do.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Police Scotland put 22 detectives on a “Salmond Squad” that spent over a year on a fishing expedition, conducting 700 interviews with 400 individuals. Is there such a shortage of real crime in Scotland that the Polis can afford to divert all this manpower on to one individual? Despite all this effort they couldn’t come up with anything other than the flimsy allegations emanating from a small group of women within Sturgeon’s inner circle, who were all colluding on WhatsApp. Those facts should have cast doubt on the veracity of the complainants in the minds of the police and the PFS. That the PFS went ahead with the prosecution on such flimsy evidence can only be explained as a political prosecution.

      If you need further proof of the political nature of the whole investigation and prosecution just look at Mark Hirst’s case. Following Salmond’s acquittal Mark posted a short video during which he commented that the Alphabet Women would now “reap the whirlwind”, a phrase in common use. His house was raided by several detectives of the Salmond Squad who arrested him on the absurd charge of “threatening violence against the complainants”, searched his house from top to bottom and seized all his phones and computers. When the case reached court the Sheriff found no case to answer, but in the meantime Mark had incurred legal fees and had his income drastically reduced. They still haven’t returned his computer equipment. It is obvious that the PFS conducted an arrest on a trumped-up charge so they could search his house and computers in the hope that they could find something more substantial to charge him with and failing that cause Mark the maximum financial damage and anxiety. That is a clear case of a political prosecution for no reason other than Mark has been a prominent supporter of Alex Salmond.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. He said he does not know of any head of goverment who questioned a jurys verdict he is wrong you only have to look at some of the things that were said by d.trump in the us.

    Like

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