Natalie McGarry, former SNP MP, convicted of embezzlement

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Natalie McGarry, a former Scottish National Party MP, was found guilty of embezzlement of about £25,000 from a pro-independence group she helped start as well as her local Scottish National Party unit.

She was found guilty by majority by the jury of a charge of embezzling £19,974 when she was treasurer of the Women for Independence campaign group between April 26, 2013 and November 30, 2015.

Again for a second charge, she was also found guilty by a majority of accepting £4,661 when she was treasurer, secretary, and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between 9 April 2014 and 10 August 2015.

McGarry was elected to the SNP’s Glasgow East constituency in the year 2015 but resigned after being tied to claims of donations found missing in November of the same year. She disputed the allegations.

Senior members of the independence movement and the Scottish government testified during the trial, including current and former Scottish health secretaries Humza Yousaf and Jeane Freeman.

Freeman was also a founding member of Women for Independence, which is still one of the most influential grassroots organisations to emerge from the 2014 election.

McGarry’s attorneys acknowledged that her finances were “disorganised” and “chaotic,” but prosecutors argued that funds transferred to her private account when her rent was due, for example, were deliberate and calculated.

“When you contribute money to an organisation, you expect it to be used for that purpose,” prosecution attorney Alistair Mitchell told the jury near the close of the trial. ” You don’t expect to pay McGarry’s rent, keep up with her payments, or be completely unaccountable.”

Freeman told BBC Scotland following the verdict that she was relieved the case had been addressed “after seven long years.”

The funds came from ordinary individuals who wanted women’s voices to be heard in the 2014 vote and who had given them their hard-earned cash frequently when they could least afford to do so, she said.

McGarry’s previous embezzlement conviction was overturned by appellate in December 2019 court judges ruled she had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

Kourtney Spak

Kourtney Spak is an american journalist and political commentator. Her journalism career focuses on American domestic policy and also foreign affairs. She also writes on environment, climate change and economy.