| Mark Hirst |
|Alma mater||Queen Margaret University|
Scottish independence activist persecuted by COPFS
Mark Hirst is a Scottish journalist and independence activist.
In 1998, Mark Hirst was a trade unionist who fought against the tech firm Viasystems when they closed their Scottish factory. He was the elected trade union organiser who fought the owners all the way before being sacked alongside his colleagues. Since then, he has worked in Public Relations at both local and national government, and been an activist for equality, social justice and civil liberties.
Later, Hirst worked as a reporter for Scottish Television (STV) and has several award-winning documentaries to his name. He also worked at Radio Sputnik / Sputnik News, where he was appointed Editor-in-Chief. During his nine years as a researcher for several SNP MSPs he organised the research staff into the National Union of Journalists to secure better pay and conditions for the staff from all political parties.
Following the verdict in the Alex Salmond sexual harassment trial and acquittal, Scottish prosecutors began actively pursuing independence supporters who publicly supported the former First Minister of Scotland.
On 29 March 2020, the day the nine women who had denied being co-conspirators managed to conspire to produce a joint statement about their ‘devastation’ at the not guilty verdict, Hirst made a short video, where he expressed his opinion that the continued attempts to undermine Alex Salmond were unfair, unjustified and politically motivated from quarters within the SNP who were comfortable to be on the payroll but were “soft” on independence, the primary reason for the formation and existence of that political party.
Hirst made the point that given the political motivation of the accusers of Alex Salmond there would inevitably be repercussions that would involve further inquiries and investigations making the continued anonymity of the accusers difficult to maintain. He stated clearly that he knew the identities of all the accusers but gave absolutely no hints as to the identity of any of them. The video was made available to his own followers on Twitter and YouTube via a closed link. Mark did not Re-Tweet the video or send it to any SNP officials or any of the Salmond accusers.
Police raided his home on 20 April 2020, where five detectives removed his mobile phone, hard disks and computers. In early May 2020 Mark Hirst, together with Craig Murray, was arrested and charged in relation to comments they made publicly during and following this trial. When informed the issue of concern was the short video Mark had made on 29th March, he offered to remove it or change the setting to ‘private’ to severely restrict access to it. The police declined that offer and even suggested such a move could be construed as ‘tampering with evidence’…
Hirst's trial took place on 7 January 2021 when he was acquitted after the Court ruled "there was no case to answer".
Following advice from senior counsel, Mark Hirst in April 2021 launched a "malicious prosecution" action against the COPFS:
Reminder I'm suing @copfs for malicious prosecution.
If I win, secure damages and costs, donors will be fully refunded.
A Document by Mark Hirst
|Document:Defend Freedom of Expression – Support Mark Hirst||Article||15 May 2020||Tommy Sheridan||If we don’t speak up now in defence of those guilty of no crime other than expressing their opinions and speaking truth to power then we will all one day be caught in the tangled web of thought control and authoritarian rule which will render us powerless to oppose injustice and resist draconian restrictions on our freedoms.|
|Document:Dissident British ex-diplomat Craig Murray indicted for blog posts in Kafkaesque case||Article||27 April 2020||Ben Norton||“The state believes it has finally discovered a way to put me in prison without the inconvenient hurdle of a jury of my peers. This really is the epitome of bad law. To use it against freedom of speech is disgusting.”|
- Document:Defend Freedom of Expression – Support Mark Hirst
- "Mark Hirst – Journalist, filmmaker, broadcaster, civil liberties advocate"
- "Defend Freedom of Expression – Support Mark Hirst"
- "Former SNP staffer says anonymity of Alex Salmond trial witnesses ‘will not be continued’"
- "Please Sign the Open Letter
- "Former Sputnik editor arrested after probe into 'menacing' Salmond accuser video"
- "Mark Hirst cleared of threatening Salmond trial witnesses"
- "Reminder I'm suing @copfs for malicious prosecution"