THE Crown Office took a fortnight to agree to Police Scotland’s request for a warrant to search Nicola Sturgeon’s home, with prosecutors only agreeing to the raid after the SNP leadership contest had ended. 

Opposition politicians said the revelation, first reported by the Scottish Sun, would lead to "raised eyebrows."

A former justice secretary called for a "judge-led inquiry" into the process. 

According to documents released to the paper through Freedom of Information, police applied for the warrant on March 20.

However, prosecutors did not sign off and send the request to a sheriff until April 3, a week after Humza Yousaf had been named winner in the race to replace Ms Sturgeon. 

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The search of the former first minister’s house took place two days later on April 5, with police taking away a number of items listed on warrants. 

Police also seized a luxury campervan from outside the Dunfermline home of Ms Sturgeon's 92-year-old widowed mother-in-law. 

Peter Murrell, Ms Sturgeon’s husband, and the ex-chief executive of the SNP, was arrested on the same day and questioned for over 11 hours before being released without charge, pending further investigation. 

Party sources later claimed it had been bought as a Covid-compliant ‘battle bus’ for the Holyrood elections, but had not been needed.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, was tight-lipped on Tuesday morning when she was quizzed by reporters over the two-week wait for approval.

The law officer - who sits in the Scottish cabinet as chief legal adviser - did not reply when asked by Sky News if the Crown Office had deliberately delayed issuing warrants until after the SNP leadership contest.

She also refused to answer when asked if she personally was aware of developments in the case.

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Kenny MacAskill, who was justice secretary under Alex Salmond, said the public needed to be reassured that there had been no undue political influence on the process.

He said: “These are matters of the utmost gravity and seriousness with huge implications for the functioning of our legal system and our democracy.

“As Justice Secretary, I was involved in changes to expedite the warrant process.

“Delays then were due to bureaucracy and IT systems. I never envisaged that police investigations might be delayed by what appears to be political considerations.

“That is why I am today calling for a judge-led inquiry into the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in order to restore trust and confidence in this vital institution.”

He said this would “reassure the public that the decisions taken by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service have not been influenced by political considerations”.

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Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay said: “There appears to be no evidence of any undue influence or interference in this process.

“However, the lack of answers to these questions only serves to fuel public concerns about the decision-making taking place behind closed doors.

“There have already been seen some crass and unacceptable interventions from the SNP camp about the legitimacy and integrity of Police Scotland’s investigation.

“The whole murky saga brings into sharp focus the untenable dual role of the Lord Advocate, both as head of the prosecution service and the Scottish government’s most senior lawyer with a place at the Cabinet table.”

Labour’s Jackie Baillie said: “This is a very interesting revelation that will lead to raised eyebrows across Scotland.”

She added: “Whilst I accept that the Lord Advocate may not have had a direct influence on the timing, this story underlines why we need to have a serious discussion about separating the role of the Lord Advocate to ensure that  no perception of conflict of interest can ever occur.”

The Crown Office told the paper: “It is standard that any case regarding politicians is dealt with by prosecutors without the involvement of the Lord Advocate or Solicitor General. We will continue to work with police on this ongoing investigation.”

Police Scotland said: “As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further.”