Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anvar Khan's Cross-Examination

Both the public gallery and the press section of the court were packed full when Tommy Sheridan left the dock to begin his cross-examination of Anvar Khan. Mr Sheridan began by asking the witness if she "knew the difference between artistic licence and lying, to which she responded "do you?" Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge, intervened to remind the witness her role was to answer questions, not to ask them. With that Mr Sheridan repeated his question to which Ms Khan responded "absolutely."

Mr Sheridan then turned to his and Ms Khan's first meeting. She said it had been at Saughton prison in Edinburgh and Mr Sheridan asked if she knew why he had been there. The witness replied that he was in prison because he had "protested against the poll tax." The witness was then asked if she and  Mr Sheridan had ever discussed various  issues, including racism in the media and Peter Mullen, the actor, and a friend of Mr Sheridan. She denied they had. He also asked her if she visited Scotland often, to which she replied she did, to which Mr Sheridan put to Ms Khan that there would have been nothing unusual in her coming to Glasgow in 2003 at the September weekend. The witness responded that on that particular weekend she was in Glasgow to go to Cupids in Manchester.

Mr Sheridan then brought into evidence Ms Khan's testimony at the 2006 libel trial. In her evidence then she had said that Mr Sheridan had arranged for Andrew McFarlane to pick her up from the airport on the 27th September 2002 and she had asked "how would I recognise him?" She had  then testifiedthat Mr Sheridan had said "He will know you from your byline photo in the News of the World." Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that she had said this morning that she had already met Andy McFarlane, so why would she have said she would not have recognised him? Mr Sheridan put it to the witness" you've lied haven't you?" to which the witness responded "that is purely your opinion." With that exchange the court rose for lunch.

When the trial resumed Mr Sheridan continued to press on the issue of Ms Khan's testimony in 2006 that she would not have recognised Andrew McFarlane at Glasgow airport as she had met him in 2001. The witness replied that when they made the arrangement she was talking about Colin who she had never met and that as she had not co-operated with either side's lawyers in the 2006 trial she had not done any pre-cognition statements and had not "searched her memory." Mr Sheridan alleged she had said this morning that she had sex with Mr McFarland  so she should have remembered him. Ms Khan retorted that she had "never said that" But agreed that he had visited her flat in 2001.

Mr Sheridan then moved onto Ms Khan's allegation that he had visited her at her friend's, flat in glasgow in 2001 and again brought up testimony she had made in the libel case, when said she had "only had" sex with Mr Sheridan in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2002." The witness continued to insist her evidence had not changed, and when asked if she was a "fictional writer" responded with "does that mean I don't exist?" Mr Sheridan then asked about her reference (in this morning's testimony) that Mr Sheridan had paid for food with cash from a "A4 brown envelope" and called this a "scintillating  detail someone would use to write a story" Which she denied.

Mr Sheridan then put it to Ms Khan that she was a "cunning liar" to which Ms Khan replied "Are your hurt" She then claimed she had not mentioned the envelope in her morning testimony (you can find an account of that Here ) to which Mr Sheridan said the "mask is beginning to fall off you" He then asked the witness about a statement she made to police in 2006. The witness denied she had made any statements to the police in 2006 and asked Mr Sheridan to "produce them please" Mr Sheridan then entered into evidence a police statement by Ms Khan dated 23/10/2006 to which the witness that she had "inferred that he had meant before the libel trial" 

Mr Sheridan then asked if Elizabeth Quinn was a dear friend and if she was loyal. Ms Khan responded that her friends were loyal but would not lie to the court "like your's have" at this point Mr McBride QC, acting for Gail Sheridan,  rose and asked if he could address the judge outside the presence of the Jury. The jury then left the court.

When the court resumed after the brief adjournment Mr Sheridan continued his questioning by asking about a statement Ms Khan had made at the 2006  that she had decided to have nothing to do with Mr Sheridan sexually since 2002. He read to the court the witnesses' statement to her where she had said that due to her fears of catching an STD from the defendant after the alleged visit to the Cupids club. Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that she had claimed they had sex after that date in her evidence that morning (at the flat of Elizabeth Quinn) Ms Khan stated that that was "not true" she had said that and claimed they had not had "full sex" them, but "had a snog and some foreplay."  

Mr Sheridan then asked her to describe the layout of the Cupids club in Manchester which Ms Khan did in some detail. She then stated that she had in fact returned to Cupids around a month after Mr Sheridan's alleged visit, in the company of a man she called Ian and a group of his friends. When asked why she had not mentioned this in the first trial, Ms Khan said that she had never been asked. 

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if she had been paid by the News of the World for her original story. She said that she had not and that the fact she had not co-operated with the newspaper's lawyers had, she claimed made Bob Bird (the Scottish editor of the NotW) say that "some people would think it strange if I renewed your contract." She further stated she had felt under threat and under pressure. She was asked if she was angry at Bob Bird (the Scottish editor of the NotW) for this "blackmail" as Mr Sheridan put it. Ms Khan said she did not as Mr Bird had himself been under pressure and she "understood it."

Mr Sheridan concluded by asking the witness if she was claiming she had never benefited from this story. Ms Khan replied that the reality was "Exactly the opposite" and that she had been "box office poison for the last two years". With that the court ended for the day with Mr Sheridan due to continue his cross-examination of Anvar Khan tomorrow.


Anonymous said...


Expat said...

Obviously, we never get any news about this down under - very refreshing to read an unbiased, factual account of actual proceedings.

Like some others, I think a 'not proven' verdit may well the outcome.

Anonymous said...

With so many prosecution witnesses I thought TS would have big problems, but this trial is starting to feel like the film '12 Angry Men' where Henry Fonda discredits each piece of evidence until there is nothing left.
I'm surprised that no-one from the Scottish Parliament is complaining about the hugh amount of tax-payers money being spent on this ludicrous 'trial'.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much tax payers money has been spent? Or will be spent eventually?

Whatsy said...

As a slight amendment, I thought the quoted exchange was more like
TS: You are a spiteful, hurtful liar
AK: Are you hurt? ... Am I a liar?

Otherwise, I tip my hat at your account of what was a particularly convoluted session.

Khan really painted herself into a corner by declaring "I have not changed my testimony. I will not change my testimony", then stuck doggedly to this, even when it meant the cross-examination getting bogged down in a battle of wills between TS & AK on seemingly minor points.

I thought the exchange when TS asked AK to read out her responses from a transcript of the 2006 trial was bordering on the farcical. Khan was being particularly uncooperative at this point, and TS really should have changed his approach in the interests of getting to the point, rather than insisting on this line of questioning which resulted in confusion for all concerned.

Chief Wise Owl said...

Like some others, I think a 'not proven' verdit may well the outcome. - me too, unless some incontrovertible evidence one way or the other rears it's head. too much smoke, no much fire.

Bunc said...

I have to say that my reading of the evidence presented so far via this blog does NOT suggest to me that this is clearly heading for a not proven - but then Im not a TS fanboy.

Witnesses have stuck to the substantial nature of their evidence and none of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses has been seriously undermined that I can see.

Many of the commentators here are I think engaging in wishful thinking at this stage.

Ultimately it will be for the jury to decide if they believe this long list of witnesses and if they believe that overall their version of events is credible.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bunc, are you the person from the Crown Prosecution that authorised this trial?

Anonymous said...

don't be daft Bunc, going from a not gulity to a not proven is a seismic shift for TS fanboys.

Whatsy said...

Bunc: "Witnesses have stuck to the substantial nature of their evidence and none of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses has been seriously undermined that I can see."

I agree with you on this, but I'm not sure how significant all the little holes TS has ripped in their testimony will be. Does it undermine their credibility enough to make "reasonable doubt", or do all the little details become numbing when there is a bigger picture of who is lying and who telling the truth?

It's still early days - Prentice was asked at the end of today by Bracendale how long he thought the prosecution's case was going to last, and he wasn't able to answer, so I think it's safe to assume we still have a fair bit of it to go.

And then we're going to have Tommy's defence. Odin knows how long that might take.

Anonymous said...

With so many prosecution witnesses I thought TS would have big problems, but this trial is starting to feel like the film '12 Angry Men' where Henry Fonda discredits each piece of evidence until there is nothing left.

Patent wishful thinking! Seems to me T.S. is to Henry Fonda what Captain Mannering is to Montgomery.

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

I think most people who have been following the case are looking towards the witnesses who are not political or connected to News International. No matter what the result is the NOTW will continue with their appeal as the story is too good to let go and the level of proof in a civil matter is less than a criminal one.
Other great victories over the evil press.