“HE’S going after everything – he wants our souls I think,” was how Tim Morrison – one of the Orkney Four – reacted yesterday after news that a hearing to consider expenses in the Frenchgate court case against their lying MP Alistair Carmichael would likely be heard early next month.

Papers from both sides have been submitted to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, and Carmichael is said to be seeking costs with a “punitive” element. Morrison told The National: “He put his motion in yesterday, we put in our counter motion and he’s going after everything – basically he wants our souls I think.”

He and the other petitioners – Fiona Grahame, Cary Welling and Phaemie Matheson – took Carmichael to a rare Election Court over a memo he leaked that wrongly claimed Nicola Sturgeon would have preferred the Tories to remain in Downing Street after last year’s General Election.

Lady Paton and Lord Matthews last month found that Scotland’s only Liberal Democrat MP had told a “blatant lie” when he said in a TV interview that he had been unaware of the memo until after he was asked about it by a journalist.

But they ruled it had not been proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that he had committed an “illegal practice” under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

“What he’s doing is going for punitive damages because of the complexity of the case,” Morrison said. “They want to charge us extra because of how difficult the case was, effectively an extra burden of costs.

“Now that’s partly within the court’s discretion and whether they would do that or not is interesting.” Morrison said the four were considered “complete victors” after the two-day hearing, and had the option of pursuing costs then.

“We had a long conversation about that but decided against it, because if we lost at the end it would be worse for us,” he said.

“Bearing in mind that we won two of the three legal points, the court could rationally be expected to take that into account when it makes the [costs] decision.”

Grahame added: “We’ve seen what Alistair’s looking for which is basically everything, but we’re contesting that because we won two out of three legal points and our case was legitimate. We’re feeling very upbeat. We are just sad he hasn’t conceded that he only won one point, which was on a legal technicality, and that he did tell a blatant lie.

“It’s a shame that he’s behaving in such a way.”

The Orkney Four have used the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to raise money for their legal costs and, by last night, nearly £205,000 had been raised from almost 10,000 supporters.

A similar appeal for Carmichael has raised £14,000 from 200 people.

Morrison said the petitioners were about £5,000 short of what was needed to pay their legal costs thus far.

“When you take away charges for credit card and PayPal donations, as well as Indiegogo’s charges, what we’ve got is about £180,000 – so we are short of what we need to pay our existing bills of around £185,000 – an eye-watering amount of money,” he said.

He was critical of the way Carmichael’s team had “strung out” meetings about televising the court case, when they had just one lawyer in attendance.

“It’s inconceivable to me that their costs are what he’s told the press they are – he said £150,000 and I just don’t believe that.”

The petitioners had said that any money left over would be given to food banks, and Grahame said they had tried to keep their costs down.

“We’re not relaunching the crowdfund, we’ve just kept it going and every so often we update it, because if you relaunch it you’ve got more expenses,” she said.

“Our aim was to get £208,000 to cover everything we had to pay for on our side.

“We’re just really sad that that money is not going to a better cause – the food banks.”

The National View: The Orkney Four deserve our continuing support

Andrew Tickell: Anxious wait but all may not be lost