Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anvar Khan's Testimony

This morning the court heard from Anvar Khan, a journalist and writer who wrote the book "Pretty Wild" in 2004 that sparked of both the libel case in 2004 and this subsequent perjury trial.

Alex Prentice QC, for the Crown, began by taking the court through Ms Khan's CV and then went on to ask her when she first met Tommy Sheridan. She replied that she met him for an interview, and after Mr Sheridan made no objection to this being revealed, that was held in Saughton prison in Edinburgh where Mr Sheridan was serving a 6 month sentence for anti-poll tax actions. The witness then told the court that they had subsequently exchanged letters and after Mr Sheridan's release they met at Glasgow city chambers (Mr Sheridan had been elected as a city councillor while in prison) and in "flirtatious atmosphere" they "had a snog." 

Ms Khan then went on to describe a visit to Mr Sheridan's then home, an event which  she described as a "date for sex." She stated they chatted and then went upstairs where, she said, Mr Sheridan had a large picture of Che Guevara above his bed. Mr Prentice asked the witness if Mr Sheridan had been married at this time, she said she was unsure.

The witness was then asked if she knew a Susan Dobbie.  Ms Khan said she a knew a "Suzie" and described her as arriving at her home along with Mr Sheridan and Andrew McFarlane some time in 2001. The witness said she recalled asking Mr Sheridan to bring a "carry out" and that he had brought a large number of miniature wine bottles "like you find on Aeroplanes" Ms Khan then claimed the 4 of them went to the bedroom and had sexual intercourse.

Alex Prentice QC then moved on to the alleged trip to the Cupids sex club in Manchester. Ms Khan stated to the court that Mr Sheridan called her in London and suggested they visit the club that he had already visited on his own. She agreed and flew to Glasgow on the 27th September to meet Mr Sheridan. At this point the prosecution produced Ms Khan's bank statement which shows a debit to British Airways for 223 pounds, which she said was for the airline ticket. She described being picked up by Andrew McFarlane and Gary Clark, and said Mr Clark drove the three of them to a flat in Glasgow that she described  full of Rangers [football club] memorabilia. Ms Khan told the court that Mr Sheridan had later arrived with Katrine Trolle and the group of them drove to Manchester. The witness described the group stopping on the way for some "fast food" which Mr Sheridan paid for from an A4 envelope full of cash. She described them arriving at a "broken down estate" and entering the Cupids club.

Ms Khan described the club to the court and was asked if she recalled meeting anyone there. She said she remembered one of the staff as "Louise" as she had asked her about getting a glass of wine only to be told the club did not sell alcohol. The witness added that she had also been introduced to Louise's husband. She mentioned then that Mr Sheridan had "panicked" when entering Cupids as a couple of people from Glasgow had recognised him although they had ended up later being all "Glasgow guys together"  She further described going to a party after the club to a house owned by "Ian" and was shown pictures of a house she identified as belonging to him. She said they had left Manchester in the early hours and they party had arrived back in Glasgow as dawn was breaking. 

She then was asked if she knew an Elizabeth Quinn, whom Ms Khan stated was a friend. The witness told the court that at some point around this time (either before or after the Cupids trip) Mr Sheridan had called on her at Ms Quinn's flat where they "had sex." She said that "Liz" had returned while Mr Sheridan was still there and had seen them together. Asked by Mr Prentice if the flat had smelled of anything, she replied "paint"

The Crown then asked Ms Khan about a telephone call she received from Mr Sheridan while she was in London. The witness told the court that Mr Sheridan had told her that rumours about their alleged trip to Cupids were "flying about Albion Street" (the home of the Glasgow Herald Newspaper) but that she should not worry as there was "no proof." She described her reaction as one of thinking that someone would use that information at some point and that she and Tommy Sheridan would be linked together. She stated she told Mr Sheridan that what he was doing was "dangerous" and he should "keep it in his pants." She claimed she had further told him that he was leading a double life and this would damage his integrity and his "authority to help people" She said at this point Mr Sheridan said "Don't talk about my business MI5 are listening to my phone right now."  She told the court that she had decided then to break off the relationship.

After a short morning break court resumed with Alex Prentice QC continuing his examination of Anvar Khan  by asking the witness about her 2004 book "Pretty Wild." Ms Khan described the book was written to a specific commission and was to be about a "romantic and sexually adventurous woman working in the media in London," a "Scottish version of Sex and the City." Mr Prentice read out the subtitle of the book, "The Most Honest Diary About Men, Women and Sex You'll Ever Read" to which Ms Khan responded that this was chosen by the publisher. 

Mr Prentice then asked the witness if she had based any of the book on her alleged trip to the Cupids club in Manchester. She answered that about 7 pages were. The court was then shown a transcript of part of Ms Khan's evidence to the 2006 libel trial where the characters in this part of the book are names as Patrick, Drew, Gerry and Hilda. The witness explained, in response to a question about artistic licence that the book contained "elements of fact and elements of fiction" 
Ms Khan then described a meeting with a journalist from the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, organised by her publisher to promote the book. held in 2004 in the Copthorn hotel in Glasgow. She said she had made an "off the cuff" remark that contained a "clouded reference" to a "married MSP" She claimed that this was an "off the record comment but that the journalist had "run with it." She said she received a call from the same journalist a month or two later asking her to name the MSP which she refused to do. She said she had raised the matter with Bob Bird, the Scottish editor of the News of the World (NotW)bbut with no-one else. 

Ms Khan was then shown a copy of the NotW from 31 October 2004 and the headline "Married MSP is Spanking Swinger" and a sub-headline on page 13 "Girl Anvar and Married MSP and Sex Club Orgy." and was asked if she had co-operated with the paper on this story. She said she had "in a way" and that Bob Bird and her had discussed using the "Married MSP" headline to promote her book. Ms Khan said she had also been assured that this story was just a preamble to an expose being run on Mr Sheridan the week after regarding Fiona McGuire. The witness also stated she had received no payment for the story.

Ms Khan was then asked about the 2006 libel case taken by Tommy Sheridan against the News of the World in 2006. The witness told the court she had been contacted by the NotW's legal team but had refused to co-operate with them. She said that Mr Sheridan had not been suing over her article but was suing over the Fiona McGuire allegations. She added that she had never discussed Mr Sheridan publicly except when she was under oath. 

Mr Prentice then presented the court with an affidavit, signed by Ms Khan in which she put the date of the alleged trip to Cupids as November 2001, not 2002. She explained that this had been taken at her Glasgow flat and she had not had time to check it properly. She said she was under pressure as this was to "help Bob [Bird] get London to run the article." Mr Prentice ended by asking the witness if she liked publicity. She said that while sometimes it is a "necessary evil" this case had led to her no longer being a "member of the Scottish press" which she described as "vindictive, misogynist and hysterical." Mr Prentice then ended his examination and returned to his seat.  


Anonymous said...

lol I sometimes wonder if TS reads this blog for tips.

Anonymous said...

2 hours cross-examination and with more to go must be a new record for TS.

Anonymous said...

They should make a film of this when its all over and done with. It has everything a good film needs. Comedy, Romance, Tragedy, Conspiracy etc etc.

I believe in the old adage of no smoke without fire, but knowing TS I think he'll come out of this with a not-proven.


paw said...

Thanks, James Doleman, for keeping us up to date.
By the way, what happened after you were asked not to write notes on Monday? Do you sit with the press now or has it been accepted that your blog is as legitimate as the newspapers reporting this case?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate Doleman's blog and I think he is well within his rights to take notes and post them up as a blog, but that's not true - the blog is not as legitimate as the newspapers - afaik Doleman does not own a press card/is not a member of the NUJ/has had no formal training in journalism & impartiality, also his job is not on the line if he gets facts wrong or misconstrues evidence etc. It's very much appreciated and I hope it continues, but in terms of if the police in the court decided that only comment from the press should be made on a particular day/point/witness, they would technically be within their rights to do that.

justaglasgowguy said...

anon 6:54 Under what law do they have the right to stop notes being taken?

Robert said...

Not proven. A verdict that can only be arrived at in Scotland. It means we're pretty sure you did this but we can't quite prove it. If he gets this result everybody will believe TS is as guilty as hell although they may regard his enemies, both the NOTW and the SSP, as a fairly sleazy bunch as well.

hard case said...

'justaglasgowguy said...
anon 6:54 Under what law do they have the right to stop notes being taken?'

At one time judges just wouldn't allow it, though I'm not sure if they had any legal basis for doing so. I think the concern was that it might be a way of intimidating witnesses. Things seem to have changed though as this guidance note makes clear.

'Q Can the media record.....'

'A.Photography, filming and audio recording are not permitted in court without prior approval, including the consent of the judge and all parties to the case. The media may obtain permission if it is felt to be in the public interest.. However, anyone may take written notes in court.'

James Doleman said...

Hello Anon. Can I just say I've never claimed any right to take notes of the trial or anything else because, as you rightly point out I am not an member of the press or have I claimed to be.

I have however spoken to the Clerk of the court and have received her kind permission to take a note of the proceedings.

If I could add I personally fully understand the courts caution in this area because at many High Court cases very sensitive personal information is revealed so it makes sense for the clerk to know who is taking notes and why.

Hope that clears that issue up.

Anonymous said...

Robert 7:52 Not proven. Exactly, not proven is like the English equivalent of a "hung jury", there is evidence pointing to guilt but not enough to return a guilty verdict. i.e. we know you done it but we can't prove it. But, it is still an aquittal and can mean the difference from going to jail or being free to leave the court.

James Doleman said...

Anonymous said...

afaik you cant get a not-proven verdict in a perjury trial - its a simple majority

Anonymous said...

Would it still be competent for the crown to call this Poster character at this stage of the trial?

justaglasgowguy said...

lol@new witness

jim mclean said...

Bill Posters Will be prosecuted.

Dementia Rules said...

'I appreciate Doleman's blog and I think he is well within his rights to take notes and post them up as a blog,'

As long as this 'trial' continues, I hope that this blog will also continue. The difference in relation to the information contained in the press/media and the blog bears no comparrison.
One wonders if some of the journalists are actually in the court to hear the evidence!

perry freemason said...

anon: "afaik you cant get a not-proven verdict in a perjury trial - its a simple majority"

this is a nonsense statement, not proven is available in all criminal cases in scotland. The simple majority still applies, this a false dichotomy.

The simple majority required is for a guilty verdict. If 8 jurors elect guilty then the defendant is guilty and we dont get to know whether the other seven elected not guilty or not proven

The question is whether a majority elect to convict, if only 7 vote guilty, then its an aquittal.

jim mclean said...

Dementia# As long as this 'trial' continues, I hope that this blog will also continue.

Bloody right, just visited another blog, lazy, cheap and unadulterated bias and no comments, wont name it not worth it.

Jessica Fletcher P.I. said...

"wont name it not worth it."


Anonymous said...

jim is probably referring to which isnt a blog.

They have stated that their intention is to use the tactics of tabloids and pick out the juicy stuff and use quotations in the same selective way as the papers do.

Mark, the guy who compiles the reports, changes his mood with the SUN. If they have a particularly ridiculously biased headline he does the same, he takes a calmer approach when the Sun does.

They advertised this everywhere it was sent as "extremely biased version of events". It's the opposite of the Sun's coverage.

Anonymous said...

afaik Doleman does not own a press card/is not a member of the NUJ/has had no formal training in journalism & impartiality,

What paper do you read !!!! impartiality my arse .. i have turned people on to this blog who were swallowing all the anti TS headlines.They now hold a difffrent view of the case.Reading this blog is g8 for getting behind the headlines .The SSP witnesses in particular come across as a bunch of puffed up villians.Glad i dont live near any of these folks -the curtains would be twiching all the time :) anyway thanks Mr Doleman it must be doing your nut in sitting through this evry day .

Anonymous said...

What would happen to the compensation owed to TS in the event of a Not Proven verdict? And also the pending Appeal against the Defamation Action by the NoW? Anyone know?

Magnum P.I. said...

Jessica Flatcher P.I., is of no more use to a Private Investigator than the Sun.

Magnum P.I.

Victor English said...

The NoW appeal could be heard whatever the result in this trial. Technically, the verdict here doesnt automatically have a given knock-on outcome to the appeal outcome.

So it could be the case that Sheridan is acquitted and the NoW appeal is stil granted. Also, although less likely, if Sheridan is guilty the appeal could still be rejected. It is possibly (but unlikely) that he could be guilty of perjury while the NoW are still guilty of defamation.

However, the NoW appeal is an appeal for a retrial so, if it was granted, it would mean that the whole defamation proof would be re-run from the start.

If Sheridan is guilty, he will appeal and the NoW decision would probably be postponed until the decision is taken on that. That would take a while. If he had an appeal granted then it would mean a retrial and further delays.

If Sheridan is acquitted I dont think the Crown would appeal, the cost so far would be a big enough nightmare for them without risking more.

But either way, this has years to run yet.

Until the possible scenarios are played out Sheridan will not receive a penny.

justaglasgowguy said...

As far as I am aware, only an "innocent" verdict will stop the appeal of NOTW to the libel trial verdict. Tommy hasn't received any of the money. In other words there is a third trial lurking below the horizon.

Talking of money, the last I saw was the police investigation had cost over £1 million and legal aid fees were in the region of £500,000.

Anonymous said...

justaglasgowguy 12:15 Will the fact that Tommy Sheridan is defending himself not save the Legal Aid Board a few pounds. I know that Maggie Scott will still be paid for "preparation of trial".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your very informative post, Victor English. From what you say, I gather that if and when TS does his receive his compensation he will be too old to enjoy, maybe help with the nursing home fees, but that's about it.

Victor English said...

justaglasgowguy, it would depend on what counts Sheridan was found guilty or acquitted on. There is no 'innocent' only 'guilty', 'not guilty' or 'not proven'. Not proven and not guilty are more or less the same in the courts eyes. People may see 'not proven' as meaning 'guilty but not enough evidence' but the justice system does not share that view.

The appeal will be heard either way, whether or not it is granted will depend on what is put before the appeal judges.

There is no hard and fast rule over what result in this trial will affect the appeal. Some possible scenarios that we could imagine would, obviously, have direct consequences, others might not.

We would have to see what instructions the judge in this trial gives the jury, and what the decision of the jury is on each count, before even having a clue how it would influence the appeal.

There is clearly stuff here that could be seen as new evidence (the usual starting point for an appeal) but it might be ruled out by the judge or rejected by the jury.

Any speculation on the NoW appeal is pointless at the minute.

I cant see a "third trial" being the case unless something new comes up relating to witnesses. But a re-run of this case and/or a re-run of the libel proof are possibilities.

jim mclean said...

The leader of a Trotsyist Party and former member of Militant with a picture of Che above his bed, Ted Grant will be turning in his grave.
Reread Defendtommy and see how clever it is, by editing the words of the women who have testified against Tommy they can ridicule them using oppressive tactics under a pretense of attacking the Sun and news international legitimising the term misogynist c##t used in a previous post.

Anonymous said...

a re-run of this case! you're joking, Victor, surely? anyway, best to keep schtum on that, we wouldn't want mr doleman finding out.

Anonymous said...

jim maclean, I had a look too, how come you only see the witnesses who are women in it? the largest piece that I can see in the thing is about Colin Fox and the most obvious attempt at 'sun' type reporting is the gary clark 'million pound' quote.

I dont think they are trying to be clever. the sun, very early in this trial took a quote from carolyn leckie that called sheridan "a hypocrite and a liar" and run it over a picture of the sheridans as a headline LIAR AND HYPOCRITE without quotation marks.

I dont think that site is claiming to be satire, i think its more of a case of resolutely being as biased in the opposite direction of the murdoch papers.

although, its coverage is confusing and assumes a background knowledge of who's who in the scottish left. very difficult to follow unless you are an ssp or solidarity member.