Friday, October 15, 2010
Day 8 Afternoon, Rosie Kane Part 1.
The end of Friday's morning session and the whole of the afternoon was occupied by the testimony of Rosie Kane, a Scottish Socialist party MSP from 2003 to 2007 and a member of the SSP executive throughout that period. Ms Kane was questioned by the Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC, who with his usual skill and precision took the witness through the key evidence in the case. He first asked Ms Kane about her history in the SSP and brought out that she was a founding member of the party. She said she had admired Tommy Sheridan and that he had "incredible charisma." She also confirmed that she attended the SSP executive meeting on the 9th November 2004 (the "9/11" meeting)
Ms Kane's testimony was in tune with that of the other eight prosecution witnesses the jury has heard from so far. She stated that: Mr Sheridan admitted at the meeting that he had attended the Cupid's club in Manchester on two occasions, that he had claimed that the News of the World (NoTW) could not prove this and that he intended to sue them for libel if they named him. She described the atmosphere at the meeting as "tense" and said her own mood was one of of sadness and disappointment. She added that she was worried about Gail (Mrs Gail Sheridan the co-accused) and thought that the SSP was "finished." She added that Keith Baldessara had added that he had information about more "inappropriate sexual activity" involving Mr Sheridan at a hotel in Glasgow. She also was shown and confirmed the accuracy of the disputed minute. After a further few questions from Mr Prentice the court rose for lunch.
The afternoon session was, in this observers opinion, the most dramatic and confrontational of the trial yet. The public gallery was almost full as Tommy Sheridan, from the dock, cross examined Ms Kane. He opened by asking her about her membership of the United Left group and then moved on to her evidence for the NoTW in the libel case. The witness stated that she thought Tommy Sheridan had "wangled a win" and accused him of "attacking and smearing his friends," looking directly at Mr Sheridan she said "My mum went to her grave hearing I was a liar. She adored you.
Asked about when she first found out about the News of the World story Ms Kane said she had went around the Scottish Parliament taking bets on who the unnamed MSP in the story was and it was not until Carolyn Leckie told her to stop that she realised it was Mr Sheridan.
What followed was a series of clashes between Rosie Kane and Tommy Sheridan. Mr Sheridan repeatedly probed Ms Kane's recollection of events accusing her at one point of "deploying her vivid imagination in the witness stand." In response to questioning about discrepancies between her evidence today and her statement to police in May 2007 Ms Kane argued that it had been six years and since then she had "lost two jobs and 2 parents so on you go." Mr Sheridan pointedly asked Ms Kane if she was still involved in a amateur dramatic society and taking acting lessons.
Mr Sheridan asked Ms Kane that if she was, as she had claimed, such "good buddies" with him why she had not asked him about the allegations, she replied that she had been "disgusted" by the nature of them and that they "flew in the face of our beliefs. Mr Sheridan then spoke of Ms Kane's "vivid imagination" and asked her if she not had a relationship with a Sun Journalist. Ms Kane asked if Mr Sheridan meant "she had nipped him in a pub." Around this point Lord Bracadale intervened, politely, to remind Ms Kane that her role as a witness was to listen to the questions asked and then answer them.
(part two to follow)
Posted by James Doleman at 7:34 PM