ALEX SALMOND’S leading defence lawyer is facing a conduct investigation after being overheard talking about his client’s case on public transport, including the names of two female complainers whose anonymity is protected by law.

Gordon Jackson, QC, yesterday referred himself to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) after a video emerged of him discussing the trial on a train.

The video, released by the Sunday Times, also showed Mr Jackson describing the former first minister as “quite an objectionable bully to work with” and “a nightmare to work for”.

He characterised some of his client’s conduct towards some of the complainers as “inappropriate, a***hole, stupid... but sexual?”

He then named two complainers who “unfortunately... say it’s sexual”.

Apparently discussing his defence tactics in respect of a woman, he said: “All I need to do is put a smell on her”.

The video was taken in the first week of the trial, when judge Lady Dorrian issued an explicit order banning all the complainers’ identification, or any information that might lead to it.

Mr Jackson, 71, who helped secure Mr Salmond’s acquittal on 13 sexual assault charges last week, is Dean of the Faculty Of Advocates, the body for Scotland’s most senior lawyers.

There is now pressure on him to step aside as Dean, a position he was elected to in 2016.

The SLCC considers complaints of professional misconduct against advocates, defined as “conduct which is not of the standard which could reasonably be expected of a competent and reputable advocate”.

The SLCC can then remit misconduct complaints to the Faculty of Advocates, whose Disciplinary Tribunal has the power to expel advocates.  

In a statement, the Faculty made plain its displeasure with Mr Jackson’s behaviour.

Roddy Dunlop, QC, Vice-Dean of the Faculty Of Advocates, said: “The Faculty takes this matter extremely seriously. 

“It plainly warrants investigation, but as the Dean has self-referred to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission it would not be appropriate for the Faculty to comment further.” 

In a second statement issued by the Faculty, which still referred to him as Dean, Mr Jackson said: “I have decided the proper course of action is to self-refer this matter to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, and that has been done. 

“It will be for the Commission to consider this matter.

“To be clear, however, I do not regard Alex Salmond as a ‘sex pest’, and any contrary impression is wrong. I also deeply regret the distress and difficulties which have been caused, but given the reference to the SLCC it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Sandy Brindley, the chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “Protecting the anonymity of all people who report sexual crimes is of critical importance and is one of few reassurances that can be offered as part of an otherwise daunting and intimidating process.

“For this to be undermined by such a senior lawyer in a public place in such a high-profile trial is horrifying and completely unacceptable. 

“We cannot see how this behaviour – caught on film – is in keeping with the Faculty Of Advocates’ own guidance on conduct. There should be an immediate investigation.”

The nine women who accused Mr Salmond said yesterday they were “devastated by the verdict” but would “not let it define us”.

In a letter issued through Rape Crisis Scotland, the nine said inappropriate behaviour admitted by Mr Salmond’s defence team was not “trivial”, as Mr Jackson described it in court.

They wrote: “We want to send a strong and indisputable message that such behaviours should not be tolerated by any person, in any position, under any circumstances.

“We ask you to consider whether behaviour which is so often merely described as ‘inappropriate’ or is tolerated by society is acceptable towards your daughters, granddaughters, sisters, wives, friends and colleagues. 

“We hope through shining a light on our experiences, it will serve to protect and empower women in the future. Be brave, be loud, be heard.”

Mr Salmond’s former spin doctor has said some of the inappropriate behaviour admitted during the trial was “disturbing”, including the former first minister being obliged to apologise to an official for his actions while “tipsy” at Bute House.

Writing in the Sunday Times, former special adviser Kevin Pringle said: “That conduct was wrong and unbecoming of the office he held.”

However, and despite Mr Salmond’s “famous temper”, he saw no reason why he should not be readmitted to the SNP “at the earliest opportunity”.