A ROSYTH man has been told he faces a possible prison sentence for naming the women who claimed they had been sexually assaulted by Alex Salmond.

Clive Thomson, 52, admitted breaching a strict court order which prohibited the identification of the complainers who gave evidence at the former First Minister’s trial last year.

Judges Lady Dorrian, Lord Pentland and Lord Turnbull heard how Thomson named the females on Twitter on two different occasions in August last year.

Lady Dorrian – the judge who presided over the trial which resulted in Mr Salmond being acquitted of all charges – had passed the order during trial.

Mainstream journalists working in Scottish courts do not name complainers in sexual assault cases in order to prevent complainers' privacy being breached.

However, the former defence industry worker ignored the order and named the women on the social media network.

The court heard that he knew that he wasn’t supposed to name the women but went ahead and did so anyway.

In court today (Friday), moments after Thomson admitted a contempt of court charge, defence advocate Mark Stewart QC urged the judges not to send his client to prison.

But Lady Dorrian said: “The court takes the view that this is a very serious contempt of court, Mr Stewart.

“The second post in particular is clearly a deliberate post, it is clearly done in the knowledge that it should not be done. It is clearly done for political – with a small 'p' – purposes and any reasonable person would understand the reason why complainers are expected to be given anonymity in records and the effect that naming them might have.

“The option of a custodial sentence is very much an open one at the moment. It is a live issue for the court and we are considering that.

“In order to assist us with determining what is the appropriate sentence, we consider that we do have to obtain a report concerning the circumstances of the accused and we will do that at a further hearing.”

Mr Salmond was cleared of 13 charges of sexual assault earlier this year. A further charge of sexual assault had been dropped previously by prosecutors.

The former First Minister had maintained his innocence throughout the two-week-long trial which was held in March 2020.

The women who made the allegations against Mr Salmond included an SNP politician, a party worker and several current and former Scottish Government civil servants and officials.

In a post made on a fundraising website, Thomson requested financial assistance for his case, saying he needed a QC and legal team “regarding a contempt of court charge, over the Alex Salmond case”. As of this afternoon, he had raised £275 of a £5,000 target.

Mr Stewart told the court that the first post was taken down a short time after it had been published. The second post was taken down within 24 hours of its publication.

The advocate also told the court that his client was aware that jail was an option but urged the court to either fine Thomson or give him community service.

He added: “As far as the disposal is concerned, Mr Thomson is fully aware that custody is a very live option. It’s my submission, however, that custody is not the only option in respect of Mr Thomson.

“In the written submissions, I have sought to take detail of his personal circumstances; the family which he supports and the very positive role that he plays within that family.

“He provides materially for the two children who live with him in that family. He provides financial support to his older son and he provides critical financial and emotional support to his wife.

“He has a very positive work history which stretches back to his apprenticeship years and has always sought to work hard to contribute to his family, to society and in the nature of his work in the defence industry to the public good.”

Mr Stewart also said that Thomson had health problems.

He added: “As far as his own situation is concerned, the court has seen both the testimonial from his partner and a written document from his general practitioner which outlines certain difficulties he has had.

“Mr Thomson is extremely concerned with the wellbeing of his family and the prospect of custody.”

The judges deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports.

Thomson is expected to be sentenced on February 25.