Prominent Lawyer Gordon Jackson KC Suspended for 15 Weeks Over Comments During Alex Salmond Trial.

Lawyer’s Remarks Breached Anonymity Order, Highlighting Importance of Upholding Professional Standards.

In a significant development, Gordon Jackson KC, one of Scotland’s most senior lawyers, has been suspended from practice for 15 weeks due to comments he made during the trial of former First Minister Alex Salmond. The suspension comes after Mr. Jackson was filmed on a train in March 2020 naming two complainers from the trial, which ultimately saw Mr. Salmond acquitted of charges of sexual assault.

The Faculty of Advocates, the professional body for advocates in Scotland, acknowledged that Jackson was “genuinely remorseful” but concluded that his comments constituted a “serious and reprehensible departure from professional standards.” The disciplinary process, which spanned several years due to appeals by Mr. Jackson, saw the initial sanction reduced from five months to 15 weeks.

Gordon Jackson KC had previously served as the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, a testament to his stature within the legal profession. His successful defense of Mr. Salmond during the high-profile trial in March 2020 had garnered significant attention.

During the trial, Jackson was caught on camera making comments about the former first minister and two of his accusers while discussing “defense strategy.” These comments breached a court order issued by the trial judge, Lady Dorrian, which prohibited the identification of any women making complaints against Mr. Salmond. This order reinforced the longstanding convention in Scotland of granting complainers lifelong anonymity.

At the time, Mr. Jackson expressed deep regret for the distress and difficulties caused by the footage. However, his legal team argued that he had not intended to publicly name the complainers and was engaged in a discussion about defense tactics.

The Faculty of Advocates accepted Jackson’s remorse but emphasized that his conduct displayed “reckless indifference” to maintaining the anonymity secured by the court order. They stated that naming complainers publicly posed a genuine risk to the order of the court and was contrary to his duty as an advocate. Such actions, they noted, could inflict significant trauma on the complainers.

This suspension serves as a stark reminder of the importance of upholding professional standards and respecting court orders within the legal profession. It underscores the necessity for legal professionals to adhere to the highest ethical standards while fulfilling their roles in the justice system.







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