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Craig Murray loses contempt challenge on Alex Salmond trial blog

A former British ambassador who was jailed for blog posts that could have identified Alex Salmond’s accusers has lost a legal challenge to his prison sentence.

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, had become a blogger and pro-independence campaigner and wrote a series of articles about the former Prime Minister’s High Court trial in 2020.

The 63-year-old was jailed for eight months for contempt of court after prosecutors said his articles contained details which, if pieced together, could lead readers to identify the women who made the allegations against Mr Salmond, who was acquitted of 13 charges including sexual assault and attempted rape in March last year.

Mr Murray wanted the contempt conviction and prison sentence overturned.

But in a judgment written on Friday, five judges at the Edinburgh Court of Appeal dismissed the blogger’s challenge.

Scotland’s chief justice, the Lord Justice General Lord Carloway, said: ‘The petitioner (Murray) is an intelligent person whose actions were deliberate and calculated.

“They clearly showed contempt for the order of the court and for the rule of law.

“They created serious risks to the mental and physical health of the plaintiffs.”

The judge said Mr Murray had displayed ‘a substantial degree of arrogance’ and said the Scottish blogger’s contempt was of ‘very serious gravity’.

He said: ‘The petitioner deliberately set out to publish information which could lead to the identification of the complainants and has done so.

“Revealing the identity of the complainants would be likely to lead to considerable abuse and harassment (including on social media) against them. There was a real danger that they would be physically injured.

Lord Calloway added that Mr Murray had shown ‘a complete lack of remorse’ about his actions, ‘and perhaps insight into the consequences of his actions’.