Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry guilty of embezzling more than £24,000

Former MP Natalie McGarry has been found guilty of embezzling almost £25,000 while acting as treasurer for multiple political groups.

McGarry, who represented Glasgow East between 2015 and 2017, was convicted of two charges of embezzlement – totalling £24,635.

Current and former Scottish health secretaries Humza Yousaf and Jeane Freeman were among witnesses to testify during the six-week trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, during which the 40-year-old had denied both charges against her.

But a jury found her guilty by majority of a charge of embezzling money while she was the treasurer of the Women for Independence (WFI) campaign group between April 2013 and November 2015.

She was also found guilty by majority of a second charge of taking money between April 2014 and August 2015 when she was treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP.

McGarry earlier told the court it had been “overwhelming” trying to juggle her election campaign while also organising orders for merchandise for local pro-independence groups – which came directly into her personal email inbox.

The court was shown records of 24 events organised by local groups during a two-month period in the wake of the 2014 referendum, which McGarry said had created “phenomenal” demand for merchandise, such as T-shirts, mugs and banners.

Her lawyers admitted that her finances had been “chaotic”, but she denied both charges and alleged that a financial spreadsheet which accounted for her personal outgoings and WFI spending had been lost when police seized her phone.

The 14 jurors were told that in order to convict McGarry, they would have to be confident beyond reasonable doubt that the funds were misappropriated and used dishonestly.

Sheriff Tom Hughes had also told them to ignore the publicity that the 40-year-old’s trial had attracted and to focus solely on the evidence presented to the court.

More follows…

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