Craig Murray: Lady Dorrian Was Apparently Unaware of the Contempt of her Court and Questioned the Crown’s Motives

Craig Murray Twitter

January 2021 High Court Edinburgh

Craig Murray, faced a contempt of court hearing after posting information on his blog in advance of Mr Salmond’s trial. The contempt proceedings at the High Court, Edinburgh, before Lord Justice Clerk, Lady Dorrian, heard Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown argue that information Craig posted on his blog in January 2020 could lead to jigsaw identification of the women involved, breaching a contempt of court order, creating a substantial risk of prejudicing the trial.

John Scott QC, defending, argued that at the date of the publication there was no court order in place and Craig had gone to great lengths to keep the complainants identities hidden. He added that the Crown had contacted Craig over the article prior to the start of Alex Salmond’s trial, but did not demand he take it down. Craig viewed the contact as “inappropriate censorship, as opposed to welcome advice”.

Lady Dorrian questioned why the case against Craig had been brought after Mr Salmond’s trial. She said: “Both articles being addressed were published in advance of the trial. If the Crown was of the view these articles created a substantial risk, it seems strange the Crown did not take action at that time.”

Alex Prentice QC, said:

“I accept that that is factually correct and a matter that the court can take into account while assessing the allegation. However I still believe there was a risk of identification. In my submission, the respondent argued that the publication was limited to those who followed his blog on social media and not the wider public, but one must consider it could be potentially much more distressing for someone in a working environment to work out the identity of a person in circumstances such as those that occurred in this case. In any situation, there will be some people who know the complainers – members of immediate family, work colleagues. In any case, there will be members of the community who have some pieces of the jigsaw. If it’s people who have particular knowledge, perhaps knowledge imparted by the complainers themselves, there may be a category of people who have bits of the jigsaw and finding out – for example – that an allegation came from a particular place… that will then narrow the field. It requires greater care for anyone seeking to report responsibly but it is not by any means straightforward. It might be possible for good faith errors to be made there. Jigsaws come with varying complexities. A 500-piece puzzle is a very different proposition to a 12-piece puzzle of Peppa Pig. While some information in the public domain may be pieced together by those determined to do so, the risk may be relatively remote. There is no agreed path for the court to find there was a risk of jigsaw identification. There is no safe path through it. What is not accepted is that it is extensive information here. And what is accepted and agreed is there was not enough to safely do that and to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that this was contempt.”

John Scott QC, replied that the interpretation the content of the article by Mr Prentice QC, was all encompassing and unreasonable, saying: “If the Crown argument is correct, one wonders how anything would be reported at all. Nothing at all could really be published.

Thread by @jamesdoleman on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App


If the Crown had been truly concerned that the information published by Craig before the trial carried a real risk of jigsaw identification of the complainants, breaching a contempt of court order and creating a substantial risk of prejudicing the trial, it had every right to defer the start of the trial until such time as the contempt of court allegation against Craig had been heard and resolved. That it did not do so suggested the pursuit of Craig was driven by factors other than stated. Maybe because the Crown lost the case?? Additionally in his rambling statement Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown alluded to the fact that there were many members of the wider community who were aware of the names of the complainants, either through personal contact with family members, friends, work colleagues, the press and bloggers on social media.

A written judgement issued at a much delayed date decided Craig was guilty.

Former diplomat who believed state tried to frame Alex Salmond found in  contempt of court over trial blog - Daily Record


There is an answer but I am not sure just what it is. In my view the Crown erred by permitting the trial to start when, by it’s own admission it had concerns that Craig had facilitated a jigsaw identification spread with articles he posted many months before the trial start date. It is also noteworthy that the contempt of court charge should not have been levied against Craig using the January 2020 blogs since Lady Dorrian had not yet pronounced on the matter of jigsaw naming. She alluded to this with her questioning of the Crown’s motives.


Citizen Journalism is the Platform That Provides Solutions to the Mistrust the Public has Towards the Corporate Controlled News Media and Government


Witch Hunting - National Sport of India 2021 |


Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is the platform that provides solutions to the mistrust the public has towards the corporate controlled news media and government when discrepancies arise from government and  other establishment bodies statements and actions.

These civic minded individuals should be afforded the same protection from harassment and punitive punishment afforded to so-called professional journalists always provided articles posted to their blogs conform to the accepted “Principles of Journalism”.


BBC Question Time on Twitter: "There's a new earlier time for Question Time  from tonight. We're on at 10:35pm on @BBCOne  #bbcqt…"


The Principles of Journalism

In 1997, a committee of journalists, concerned about failing standards, began a national conversation with the public and news people to identify and clarify the principles underlying journalism. After four years of research the group released a “Statement of Shared Purpose” that identified nine principles.

Statement of Purpose:

“The central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society. This encompasses myriad roles helping define community, creating common language and common knowledge, identifying a community’s goals, heroes and villains, and pushing people beyond complacency. This purpose also involves other requirements, such as being entertaining, serving as watchdog and offering voice to the voiceless.”


Bias in BBC Question Time


The Nine Principles

1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth

Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context. Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can and must pursue it in a practical sense. This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation.

Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods, so audiences can make their own assessment of the information.  Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built: context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever-greater flow of data, they have more need not less for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.


Image result for bbc scotland  bias


2. Loyalty is to the citizens

While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favour. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization’s credibility; the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers.

Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them. The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture, not exploit their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.


Image result for bbc scotland  bias


3. The discipline of verification

When the concept of objectivity originally evolved, it did not imply that journalists were free of bias. It called, rather, for a consistent method of testing information – a transparent approach to evidence – precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their work. The method is objective; not the journalist refined. While journalism has developed various techniques for determining facts, for instance, it has done less to develop a system for testing the reliability of journalistic interpretation.


Image result for truthful journalism


4. Practitioners must maintain a independence from those they cover

Independence of spirit and mind, rather than neutrality, is the principle journalists must keep in focus. But while editors and commentators are not neutral, the source of their credibility is still their accuracy, intellectual fairness and ability to inform, not their devotion to a certain group or outcome. Any tendency to stray into arrogance, elitism, isolation or nihilism must be avoided.  


Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News - The Pulitzer Prizes


5. It should serve as an independent monitor of power

Journalism has an unusual capacity to serve as watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens.  It is a rampart against despotism. An independent press is essential in a democracy. The judiciary have affirmed this and citizens rely on it. 


Cartoonist | Bill Asprey: Artist, Composer, Poet & Writer


6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise

Discussion serves society best when it is informed by facts rather than prejudice and supposition. It should strive to fairly represent the varied viewpoints and interests in society, and to place them in context rather than highlight only the conflicting fringes of debate. Accuracy and truthfulness require framers of the public discussion not to  neglect the points of common ground where problem solving occurs.


Image result for truthful journalism


7. Reporting should be interesting and relevant

Journalists must continually ask themselves what information has most value to citizens and in what form. While journalism should reach beyond such topics as government and public safety, a journalism overwhelmed by trivia and false significance ultimately engenders a trivial society.


Image result for bbc truthful journalism


8. Keep the news comprehensive and proportional

Keeping news in proportion and not leaving important things out are the cornerstones of truthfulness. Inflating events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping or being disproportionately negative all make for less reliable reporting.


Inside the Making of Facebook's Supreme Court | The New Yorker


9. Practitioners should exercise their personal conscience

Every journalist needs to have a personal sense of ethics and responsibility, a moral compass. They must be willing, if fairness and accuracy require, to voice differences with others. The news media should nurture independence by encouraging individuals to speak their minds. 

Further reading: The Elements of Journalism:   Tom Rosenstiel and  Bill Kovach.


Image result for bbc truthful journalism