Gordon Jackson QC announced on Friday that he is stepping down from the position of Dean of the Faculty of Lawyers, one of the most powerful positions in the Scottish legal profession, as he is under investigation for malpractice.
Jackson referred to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) on Sunday after images of him made disparaging and indiscreet remarks about Salmond and several of the plaintiffs on an Edinburgh to Glasgow train during the trial.
In a brief statement published Jackson said on the faculty’s Twitter feed, “I have announced my decision to resign as dean of the Faculty of Lawyers, effective June 30 at the latest. “
He said he would resign at an earlier date if the SLCC referred his case to faculty for investigation – a step that many lawyers, who said privately that they were stunned by Jackson’s untimely remarks, considered inevitable.
“However, it would not be appropriate for me to remain dean at a time when the faculty was considering disciplinary action regarding my conduct,” said Jackson. “Therefore, if before that date the ScottishLegal Complaints Commission refers the recent complaint for review by the faculty’s complaints committee, I will immediately step down from the position of Dean. I do not intend to make any further comments. “
The images were published by the Sunday Times six days after Jackson helped secure Salmond’s full acquittal on 13 charges of sexual assault and indecent assault, including an alleged rape attempt and an intention to rape, after a two-week trial before the Edinburgh High Court.
Jackson, a former Labor MSP, was heard to tell another passenger that Salmond was a “completely reprehensible bully” and a “nasty person to work for … a nightmare to work for”. He dismissed the complainants’ allegations, saying, “Is this hardly a sex offender … sex offender registry? Not for you. Inappropriate, asshole, stupid … but sexual? Sadly, [names one complainer] and [names another complainer] say it’s sexual. “
Referring to a complainant, he said, “We thought people might possibly think she was a snowflake and dislike her,” and went on to discuss her defense tactics involving another woman, saying : “All I have to do is put a smell on her. “
After refusing to resign over the weekend, Jackson and the Scottish defenders’ representation and regulatory body – seasoned lawyers equivalent to lawyers in the rest of the UK – were pressured to that he withdraws.
As dean, Jackson was responsible for discipline at the faculty. Colleagues said his powerful stance and mysterious procedures made it difficult for other members to force his suspension during the SLCC investigation.
The nine women who charged Salmond with assault received personal alerts and police advice after receiving threats and abuse from supporters of the former prime minister.
Sandy Brindley, Executive Director of Rape Crisis Scotland, who supported the complainants, said that the appointment of at least two of them on the train by Jackson constituted a “horrible and completely unacceptable” violation of their right to confidentiality .