Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 3 Morning.

The day opened with the the conclusion of Paul McBride's cross examination of Alison Kane. He began by reminding her of her statement yesterday that she had informed the police of her contention that she was sure Katrina Troll had not attended the SSP conference in Perth in 2005 as Ms Troll usually assisted her in counting money when she was present. Both defence and prosecution had agreed that this did not appear in her statement and she was asked to explain this.

Ms Kane stated that this was her honest recollection and suggested that perhaps the police officers had not noted this comment. After being shown that she had signed the statement she argued that this had been an honest mistake.

Mr McBride then had Ms Kane confirm a number of facts, that she had visited Mr Sheridan's home on a number of occasions, that she had never seen him drink alcohol and that Ms Troll was a close friend with whom she "shared personal things" After Ms Kane agreed with these statements this cross examination closed.

The deputy advocate, Alex Prentice QC, then showed Ms Kane the so called "Mystery Minute" of the meeting and was asked to comment. She stated she had never seen this document before the civil trial and agreed that it appeared to list only 18 people attending unlike the 21 people listed on the Barbara Scott minute of the same meeting. Ms Kane was then allowed to stand down.

The next witness called by the prosecution was Alan Green, National secretary of the SSP in 2004 and a key witness for both sides.

Mr Green was first asked about two meetings preceding the 9th November 2004 executive committee meeting, one in "Wickets" public house with Alan McCombes on the 1st November, and one at Mr McCombes' flat sometime before the executive meeting attended by Himself, Alan McCombes, Frances Curran, Carolyn Leckie, Rosie Kane, Keith Baldessara and possibly Ritchie Venton. These meetings were to agree a course of action re the News of the World's stories that were just starting to appear.

He was also asked about the executive meeting on the 9th and gave a very similar account to the previous two witnesses, describing himself as "appalled" by both Tommy Sheridan's "reckless behaviour" and his intention to sue News International and so "go down the route of Jeffrey Archer" and attempt to "Turn lies into truth and truth into lies." He stated that the whole executive unanimously disagreed with this course of action.

He also informed the court that Tommy Sheridan had asked him to destroy the minute of the 9th November meeting on the 26th November (possibly by shredding it) something he refused to do as it was "crucial that an accurate record was kept."

He then was asked about events in May 2006 (just before the libel case was due in court) when the SSP had been cited to produce all relevant documents. He stated he had met with Mr Sheridan and Colin Fox in the Golden Pheasant public house in Lenzie. At this meeting he claims to have told Mr Sheridan he was "snookered" and he should call off his action or the party would be forced to hand over the minutes. He showed Mr Sheridan the document and claimed Mr Sheridan did not challenge its accuracy. He also stated that Mr Sheridan informed him he had discussed the minute with his own lawyers and been told that revealing the minute would "be a blow but not a fatal one" He also alleged that Mr Sheridan told him that the News of The World's case was "close to collapse" and it would be ironic if it was the SSP that "gave them the ammo to beat me."

Maggie Scott QC, acting for Mr Sheridan, began her cross examination by returning to the handwritten note supposedly written by Barbara Scott during the 9th November meeting. She opened by asking Mr Green about what happened to the note after it was used to create the typed minute. He said he had kept it at home along with other papers until May 2006 when he had given it to Alan McCombes.

Ms Scott then produced a transcript of Mr Green's evidence to the 2006 libel trial, where, when asked about the handwritten notes by council for News International he had stated that he had "probably destroyed it" This led to a heated exchange with Mr Green accusing Ms Scott of "throwing mud around" and "not being interested in the truth" while Ms Scott insisted he answer the questions and not continue to make long statements. Ms Green was about to move on to another document, a "background paper" produced by Mr Green in 2006 when the court adjourned for lunch.

The case continues........

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