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Activist, 52, jailed for six months after tweeting names of Alex Salmond accusers


Scottish independence activist, 52, is jailed for six months after tweeting the names of accusers at Alex Salmond sex assault trial

  • Clive Thompson, 52, carried out a ‘blatant’ breach of contempt of court order 
  • Judge called his actions ‘politically motivated’ and that he was aware of order
  • Thomson, of Fife, admitted contempt of court at a previous hearing in January
  • Mr Salmond, the former first minister, was cleared of all 13 charges at the trial 

A Scottish independence activist has been jailed for six months after tweeting the names of five accusers who gave evidence at Alex Salmond’s sexual assault trial.

Clive Thompson, 52, carried out a ‘blatant and deliberate’ breach of a contempt of court order banning identification of the women.

A judge called his actions ‘politically motivated’ and said that he was fully aware of the court order – but believed he could circumvent it by tweeting from abroad. 

Thomson, of Rosyth, Fife, admitted contempt of court at a previous hearing in January and was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh today. 

Mr Salmond, the former first minister, was cleared of all 13 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and attempted rape at a trial last year. 

Former first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond speaks to members of the media as he leaves the High Court in Edinburgh on March 23 last year

Former first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond speaks to members of the media as he leaves the High Court in Edinburgh on March 23 last year

Lady Dorrian, who presided over the trial, had banned the identification of the women giving evidence against Mr Salmond.

Sentencing Thomson today, she said that he believed at the time of his second tweet that he might be safe from proceedings from contempt of court by being abroad.

She said: ‘You had thus given thought to how you might get away with it, going as far as to seek advice about that on Twitter. You decided to take a calculated risk.

‘This was a blatant and deliberate breach of the order, which was likely to cause serious stress and concern to the complainers and interfere with the protection extended to them by the order.’

She said that his actions were ‘clearly politically motivated, with a small ‘p’.

Lady Dorrian, sitting with Lord Pentland and Lord Matthews, said the court took account of the fact it was a ‘deliberate, and indeed planned’ contempt of court and described it as a ‘very serious matter.’

Mr Salmond, the former first minister, was cleared of all 13 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and attempted rape at a trial last year

Mr Salmond, the former first minister, was cleared of all 13 charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault and attempted rape at a trial last year

In a sentencing statement also published after the hearing, she said: ‘There are very good reasons why complainers in sexual offence cases are given anonymity.

‘The protection is, by convention, afforded to complainers in all cases, not just the one with which we are concerned.

‘Moreover, the reason for such protection extends beyond the complainers in the present case.

‘One reason for it is that the risk of public knowledge of their identities can operate as a severe deterrent to others against making complaints to the authorities in sexual cases.’

Thomson admitted contempt of court at a previous hearing in January.

Lady Dorrian said that for such a ‘premeditated contempt’ there is no alternative to a custodial sentence and jailed him for six months.

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