WOMEN

atalie McGarry has been on trial over the past six weeks for allegedly embezzling thousands of pounds from two pro-independence groups.

The 40-year-old represented Glasgow East as an SNP MP from 2015 to 2017.

Prior to that, she was an SNP activist and convenor of the SNP’s Glasgow Regional Association.

She is also the co-founder of the group Women for Independence (WFI).

In September 2015, WFI alerted police to the “disparity” between the income and expenditure of donations.

Former SNP congressman Natalie McGarry has been found guilty of embezzlement (Andrew Milligan/PA) / PA Archive

As corporate treasurer, McGarry was later charged with missing funds – facing charges of transferring money raised during campaign events to her personal account.

She also allegedly deposited checks made for the advocacy group into her own account.

McGarry withdrew the SNP whip upon reports of the charges, and was suspended from the party, continuing to sit as an independent MP.

Natalie McGarry, right, was elected SNP MP for Glasgow East in 2015 (Danny Lawson/PA) / PA Archive

She did not run for re-election in the snap general election in 2017.

In 2018, McGarry was charged with three counts of embezzlement, two counts under the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 and one count under the Powers of Inquiry Act 2000.

In 2019, a plea of ​​not guilty was made to charges of embezzlement and one charge under the Investigative Rights Act of 2000, regarding failure to provide a passcode to a cell phone. motion is seized.

At her trial at Glasgow Sheriff’s Court in April 2019, she pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement, including £21,000 from WFI between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015 and 4,661 pounds from the Glasgow Regional Association between 9 April 2014 and 10 August 2015. The remaining fees have been eliminated.

But a few days later, she tried to retract her two guilty pleas, with the sheriff ruling impossible.

Former Scotland health minister Jeane Freeman gives evidence at the trial of McGarry (Andrew Milligan/PA) / PA wire

She began serving an 18-month prison sentence before being released a few days after being released on bail, pending an appeal.

The conviction was dropped and McGarry was notified of a retrial.

A six-week retrial at Glasgow Sheriff’s Court began on 6 April 2022, with evidence being heard from several witnesses, including Scotland’s Health Minister Humza Yousaf and his predecessor Jeane Freeman.

During this trial, McGarry, of Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, denied both charges against her.

McGarry’s aunt, former speaker of the Scottish Parliament, Tricia Marwick, appeared as a witness. She told the court her niece would visit her at Parliament in Edinburgh “once a month to every six weeks”.

There, she said, she would give her niece hundreds of pounds – always in cash.

Ms Marwick said she could not quantify the total amount donated between April 2013 and November 2015 “with any certainty”, but said it “is between 3,000 and 5,000″. pound”.

She said: ‘I regularly give Natalie between £300 and £500 when she comes to see me.

“I want (the money) to be spent on herself and her family bills. When I was a young woman, I was just starting out and had no income. ”

She told the court she wanted to give McGarry a “helping hand” as an aspiring politician.

McGarry married David Meikle, then a Scottish Conservative councilor, in 2016.

Mr. Meikle was a member of Glasgow City Council, representing the ward of Pollokshields, but lost his seat in the May 5 local election.

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