Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 4 Morning Session.

Today began with the The deputy advocate, Alex Prentice QC continuing his questioning of Mr Colin Fox, co-convener of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Mr Fox was shown the disputed minute of the SSP executive of the 9th of November and confirmed it was, in his view, an accurate record of what occurred. He also confirmed that Mr Sheridan had supported Mr Fox to succeed him as convener of the SSP an that he had worked closely with Mr Sheridan in the Scottish Parliament.

He denied however any suggestion that he wanted to oust Mr Sheridan and stated he had never had any interest in becoming Convener of the SSP before Mr Sheridan's resignation saying "he had enough on his plate already. He was also asked about the meeting between himself Alan Green and Tommy Sheridan at the Golden Pheasant public house where he informed the court that on that occasion he had not seen the disputed minute having left the table to "get in the drinks."

Questioned about the meeting in the Beanscene cafe in Edinburgh, where it alleged that Mr Sheridan attempted to get him to commit perjury (see indictment below part 1) He claimed Mr Sheridan asked him to issue a statement saying the disputed minute was false. This he refused to do and described Mr Sheridan's plan as a "train wreck of a strategy"

The court was also shown a clip of the Video produced by George McNeilage which appeared to show Mr Sheridan admitting he had confessed to the Executive committee that he had visited the Cupid's sex club in Manchester. Mr Fox confirmed that in his view the person saying "I made the biggest mistake of my life confessing in front of those c*nts" was Tommy Sheridan.

In her cross examination Maggie Scot QC concentrated on the contradiction between Mr Fox's testimony that morning that he recognised the minute of the 9th of November executive meeting produced by Barbara Scott as one he had seen on the 24th November, with his testimony in the 2006 libel case at the court of session that he had said he had never seen until 6 weeks before that date. Repeatedly pressed on this discrepancy he insisted he always endeavoured to tell the truth and that had been his honest recollection in 2006. He also strongly denied suggestions from Ms Scott that he "blew with the wind" and had pledged his support to Mr Sheridan until he decided the case was going badly and switched sides. He also refuted suggestions that he had been jealous of Mr Sheridan since 1988 when Sheridan not he had been elected to the Militant tendencies central committee. "I got over it" he said to laughter in court.

The final witness of the Morning was Duncan Rowan, who in 2004 was SSP regional organiser for the North East area. He confirmed that he had been at the Executive meeting on the 9th November and stated that he heard Mr Sheridan admit to attending the Cupid's club in Manchester on two occasions. He was extremely distressed at that time and "broke down in tears" then left the meeting early to visit "a number of pubs." The reason for his distress was that he had heard just before the meeting commenced that a woman he was in a relationship with, Fiona McGuire had been admitted to hospital after taking an overdose.

On cross examination by Maggie Scott QC for Mr Sheridan the court was told that Mr Rowan had been told by Ms McGuire that she was being pursued by the News of The World to admit to an affair with Mr Sheridan (which she denied) In desperation Mr Rowan visited the News of the World offices on the 10th November and spoke to a journalist, Douglas Wight. Thinking the conversation was "off the record" he told the journalist that the person he she be looking at in connection with Tommy Sheridan was Katrina Troll. He was unaware that Douglas Wight was secretly taping their conversation which led to a front page splash in the News of The World the next Sunday. Realising his error Mr Rowan resigned from the SSP and left Scotland on the 28th November.

Under questioning he denied being under pressure about a supposed £17,000 deficit in the North East Region's funds, saying that was "not an issue at that time" and denied telling a friend, Brett Harper, that people were "lining up to get Tommy Sheridan" as he was getting "too big for his boots.

At the conclusion of Mr Rowan's testimony the court rose for lunch. The case continues.

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