A judge has refused blogger Craig Murray permission to appeal against his jail term at the UK Supreme Court because he “struck at the heart of justice” during the Alex Salmond trial.
Lady Dorrian has concluded the former diplomat’s lawyers have not established a case which would allow them to proceed to Britain’s highest court.
She made the ruling after being addressed – alongside colleagues Lord Menzies and Lord Turnbull – by Murray’s advocate Roddy Dunlop QC.
Earlier this year, judges found Murray had breached a strict court order protecting the identities of women involved in Mr Salmond’s trial.
The former Dundee University rector was jailed for eight months.
He was at liberty for this hearing and remains so for a further month pending a direct appeal to the Supreme Court.
In a written judgement published on Tuesday, Lady Dorrian wrote: “One of those factors is the potential consequences for participants in the trial, in this case the complainers.
“The scale of the offending was also taken into account as a relevant factor, with the observation that some complainers were the subject of repeated articles, thus constituting aggravations of the original breach.
“The level of culpability – high – was also taken into account, as were the personal circumstances of the applicant.
“The sanctions determination was in itself an exercise in proportionality.
“In its determination the court considered the rationale for the protection of anonymity, and the fact that it extends beyond the rights of complainers in the individual case to providing comfort to those who are maybe considering reporting a sexual offence.
“It considered that the actions of the applicant were such as struck at the heart of the fair administration of justice.
“Having reached the conclusion that there are no arguable points of law arising, the court will refuse the application.”
Further appeal route
Murray is an ex-UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and was Dundee University rector from 2007 to 2010.
He now publishes a blog about political matters and often criticises the mainstream media and established politicians.
He has claimed Mr Salmond’s trial was part of a “bigger picture”.
Lady Dorrian wrote: “It is not the case that the order prevented reporting of the trial, or other matter of public interest.
“The suggestion is made that the applicant’s genuinely held belief that the prosecution of the former first minister was unwarranted is the relevant matter of public interest, the inference from the context of that submission being that the sanction is such as to prevent discussion of a legitimate matter of public concern.
“However, that is not a tenable argument.
“It is the repeated publication of material likely to lead to identification of complainers in the face of a clear order of the court prohibiting that which drew the sanction.
“The order did not prevent discussion of whether the prosecution was objectively justified.”
Murray’s legal team told the judges on Monday if they refused permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court, he would still launch his own bid for the London judges to hear his case.
The UK Supreme Court still allows direct appeals.
Lady Dorrian and her colleagues agreed to continue Murray’s bail for a further month to make the application.