1. ITV Report

Alex Salmond appears in court charged with sexual assault and attempted rape

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has appeared in court to face 14 charges, including sexual assault and attempted rape.

The Crown Office confirmed Salmond, the former SNP leader, has been charged with two counts of attempted rape, nine counts of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one breach of the peace.

The 64-year-old pleaded his innocence after facing charges at a court hearing on Thursday.

He said he is "innocent of any criminality" and he will "defend himself to the utmost in court" after appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Salmond added: "Now that these proceedings are live it is even more important to respect the court.

"And therefore, the only thing that I can say is I refute absolutely these allegations of criminality and I will defend myself to the utmost in court."

He added: "I've got great faith in the court system in Scotland."

The former SNP leader was arrested on Wednesday after attending a police station in central Scotland.

Police Scotland earlier confirmed Mr Salmond's arrest but provided no further details of the 64-year-old's charges, prior to his court appearance.

Salmond arrived at Edinburgh Sheriff Court just before 2pm and made a short statement after the brief hearing.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman earlier said: "We can confirm that a 64-year-old man has been arrested and charged, and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

“Proceedings are now live under the contempt of court act.”

Mr Salmond, from Linlithgow, West Lothian, was the Scottish first minister from 2007 to 2014.

He resigned his membership of the SNP in August 2018.

The 64-year-old guided the party to a narrow Scottish election win in 2007 and then led a minority government as he became Scotland’s first SNP First Minister.

In the 2011 election, he led the party to an unprecedented victory with a majority win, meaning the SNP’s manifesto pledge to hold an independence referendum could be delivered.

But the result of the 2014 referendum - a 55% to 45% vote to stay in the UK - led to him stepping down as first minister and SNP leader.