PRESS STATEMENT – 31ST JANUARY 2024 – ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE SCOTTISH COVID BEREAVED, AT THE END OF THE EVIDENCE OF FORMER FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON
31st January 2024
Press Statement issued on behalf of the Scottish Covid Bereaved,
at the end the evidence of Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Aamer Anwar- Lead Solicitor Scottish Covid Bereaved
“Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister, became Scotland’s master of spin, and today was the greatest trial she has ever faced to date, there was no hiding place, no toleration of spin, no acceptance of tear filled sorrow.
In comparison to ‘let the bodies pile up high’ Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon projected a daily image of sincerity in wanting to do right by the people of Scotland during the pandemic, but that carefully crafted image has been left shattered by her own hands.
Those who lost loved ones were convinced that they would no longer be invisible in their misery, and Ms Sturgeon would do everything possible to illuminate the truth., that was the very least she owed to those who lost their lives to covid.
Today Nicola Sturgeon stands accused of a betrayal of the many promises she made, including that ‘nothing would be off limits’ in the public inquiries.
Her industrial deletion of WhatsApps along with those her inner circle, begs the question why, when she knew a public inquiry was on its way. Why from January 2020 to the 1st September 2020 are there are zero WhatsApps, and rather conveniently none for her inner circle too.
Last week her former Chief of Staff Liz Lloyd rather conveniently provided WhatsApps messages that provided laughter and many front pages in Ms Sturgeon’s description of Mr Johnson as a clown, the covid bereaved were not so easily fooled by such ‘spin’, they wanted to know what happened before those texts, what decisions were discussed from 8 months from January 1st 2020, what was happening with PPE, our hospitals and our frontline workers who in their thousands were risking their lives and why our care homes were turned into ‘killing fields’.
We asked today what discussions took place over the trial of Alex Salmond and whether they had anu impact on a delay in the lockdown.
The question for some is whether this had any bearing on the deletion of her WhatsApps
Whilst there are those in this country who view everything through the myopic vision of independence versus unionism, quite frankly the Scottish Covid Bereaved care not one bit, they fight for those who lost their lives to Covid.
As a former First Minister and lawyer, Ms Sturgeon knows there are severe consequences for those in power who choose to delete information with the intention of preventing its disclosure to a public inquiry, in what can only be seen as a cynical pre-meditated decision.
It ought to have been blindingly obvious to the politicians and civil servants from 2020 onwards, that their contemporaneous messages may be of relevance to a public inquiry.
My clients have asked me to consider asking for a criminal investigation into the actions of the former First Minister and others, we will carefully consider our next steps once the evidence is completed today. and we have had an opportunity to view the several thousand documents disclosed by the Scottish Government to the inquiry in recent days.
I said at the start of this process that no individual, no matter how powerful can be allowed to interfere with the pursuit of truth, justice, and accountability by this inquiry, those who lost their lives to Covid-19 deserve nothing less.”