On Wednesday 26th January, I appeared at Stonehaven Sheriff Court where my solicitor Gerry Sweeney appealed for a relaxation of my bail conditions. Mr Sweeney drew an analogy between my actions and those of someone opposing the Nazis in Germany in the 1930’s.
The following day, Aberdeen’s local newspaper, the “Press and Journal” reported extensively on the case.
Later that day, I was very surprised to learn that the blog of Greg Lance-Watkins, a person who promotes the notion that the Hollie Greig case is a fantasy, made a reference to Mr Sweeney’s Nazi analogy. This was not referred to in any newspaper coverage of the case nor was it mentioned in any of the material which my supporters published on the internet.
Therefore I could not understand how Lance-Watkins could have been given this information as there were no more than 15 people in the courtroom and there was no transcript made of proceedings. The only possible sources that I could think of were either the Crown Office or the local newspaper group Aberdeen Journals, whose reporter was in the courtroom.
I have just learnt that on Friday 28th January, First Minister Alex Salmond had a meeting with Damian Bates, at that time Editor of the Evening Express who had recently been appointed as the new editor of the Press & Journal.
Given that Salmond’s other engagements that day were with Outplay Entertainment, a business from Dundee, and STV , to record a clip about Andy Murray, why would he meet a newspaper editor from Aberdeen ?
Could the meeting between Salmond and Bates possibly be linked to the leaking of information to Lance-Watkins ? We know that Salmond and Lance-Watkins, for their individual reasons, both want the Hollie Greig story to either be discredited or to disappear.
Another alternative is that Salmond and Bates were discussing media coverage of my case and the Hollie Greig story in general. It is worth noting that, since then, there has been no coverage whatsoever of the Hollie Greig story by Aberdeen Journals and also, that Gary Cruden, who had reported on my court appearances is no longer employed by the organisation.
It may or may not be relevant that Bates is a member of the Aberdeen Advisory Group of Common Purpose, an organisation with links to many of the key players in the Hollie Greig case including Elish Angiolini, Colin McKerracher and Kim Ryley.