That's why it's wrong to say "if Alex Salmond was acquitted, it means the jury think his accusers were lying". It may have been that the jury weren't sure whether the accusers were telling the truth, in which case they had to give the benefit of doubt to the defendant.
But the flipside of that coin is that there is no justification whatever for treating an acquitted defendant as if he is essentially guilty. As I understand it, the position of Rape Crisis Scotland and certain commentators is as follows -
* If someone is accused of sexual assault, he must by definition be guilty.
* The accused person is worsening the ordeal of his 'victims' if he tries to defend himself in court.
* The jury is worsening the ordeal of the accused person's 'victims' if it returns a not guilty verdict.
* An accused person who is acquitted should still be assumed to be guilty in every non-legal sense and his professional and social life should effectively be extinguished in much the same way that would have occurred if the verdict had been guilty.
That attitude is quite simply incompatible with the principles of the justice system. The returned verdict means that society must regard Alex Salmond as innocent, not merely in a criminal sense but in every other sense too, except to the extent that certain facts were accepted by both prosecution and defence. Do those agreed facts justify the continued demonisation of Mr Salmond? Predictably, the SNP's highly controversial Equalities Convener Fiona Robertson believes that they do, but I'd suggest that's exactly the kind of extreme puritanism that led to the US Republicans over-reaching themselves two decades ago by attempting to impeach Bill Clinton.
The Panelbase poll yesterday suggested that, against the confident expectations of a great many people, the SNP have come through the Salmond trial totally unscathed - indeed SNP support seems to have increased even further. Having miraculously dodged a bullet, now is the time to bring unnecessary division to a definitive end by welcoming Alex Salmond back into the fold. I know not everybody likes him, but we don't all have to like each other to be part of the same party. There are one or two Russia-obsessed SNP parliamentarians who will probably never get over Mr Salmond's association with RT, but to the best of my knowledge there is no party rule that prohibits appearances on certain TV channels.
* * *
The coronavirus crisis has marked a new nadir for British journalism, and I think this tweet sums it up best -
"I've seen journalists be full of s*** before but I have never seen anything quite like this thing with UK journalists rallying around 'herd immunity', patting themselves on the back for understanding THE SCIENCE (everybody gets the virus), and then pretending it never happened."