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Alex Salmond denies sex assaults while First Minister

Salmond allegedly carried out sex attacks on ten different women between 2008 and 2014.

Alex Salmond has denied sexual assaults and attempted rape while he was first minister.

Salmond, 64, was accused of carrying out sex attacks on ten different women at various locations between 2008 and 2014 when he appeared in the dock, flanked by two security guards, at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday.

The 14 charges include one attempted rape, 11 sexual assaults, including one with intent to rape, and two indecent assaults and range from touching women over their clothes to pinning one down on a bed while naked.

Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Alex Salmond arrives at the High Court in Edinburgh. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Outside court following the short hearing, Salmond said: "I am innocent and will defend myself vigorously."

Nine of the alleged offences - which also include taking a woman's shoe off and trying to kiss her foot - are said to have taken place at the first minister's official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh, with another at the Scottish Parliament.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1442575-alex-salmond-full-charges-against-the-former-first-minister/ | default

Salmond - who was wearing a charcoal-coloured suit, blue shirt and tie with Saltires when he appeared before judge Lady Dorrian - is also accused of sexually assaulting women at Stirling Castle, in a car, at a nightclub and the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow's west end.

The former SNP leader, who was represented in court by Gordon Jackson QC, denies all the allegations against him and previously vowed to "defend" himself "to the utmost in court" when he goes on trial next year.

A second preliminary hearing will take place on January 22, with the trial due to begin on March 9.

In his statement outside court, Salmond said: "I'm not permitted to say too much today save that we've launched our defence statement with the court.

'I am innocent and I will defend my position vigorously, but the only place, the only proper place, to answer criminal charges is in this court'
Alex Salmond

"It pleads not guilty to all charges and explains some of the circumstances in which they've come about.

"I'm also conscious we're in the middle of a general election campaign; I'm not going to say anything which would influence that democratic process.

"We're now into a second year of court actions, first civil and now criminal - it's over ten months since we won the civil action.

"I am innocent and I will defend my position vigorously, but the only place, the only proper place, to answer criminal charges is in this court and that's exactly what we intend to do next spring."

Alex Salmond made a short statement outside court.
Alex Salmond made a short statement outside court. STV

Salmond was Scotland's first minister between 2007 and 2014, when he stood down after failing to win Scottish independence.

Police launched an investigation following a Scottish Government inquiry into complaints of sexual harassment against him and he was arrested in January.

Salmond also launched a judicial review against the government over how it handled its inquiry. His lawyers told the Court of Session that he had been treated unfairly.

The government later conceded its procedures had been flawed against him. He received £630,000 of public money following the case to cover his legal costs.

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