Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 9 Morning Session

Alan McCombes Revealed as source of Sunday Herald Affidavit.

This morning's session continued with Tommy Sheridan's cross examination of Rosie Kane (see below for her previous testimony) In a departure from last week the Judge granted a motion from Mr Sheridan to ask questions from the advocates rostrum, not from the dock as previously. This was conceded, he said, due to the unusual circumstances of the trial.

Mr Sheridan began with what he described as a "recap" of Ms Kane's previous evidence. She was again asked detailed questions about the SSP's 9th November 2004 meeting (the "9/11 meeting") and was again unable to recall how long Mr Sheridan spoke for or exactly the order in which others spoke. She was also asked again about meeting Duncan Rowan in the Stanley Bar after the meeting and confirmed other people were also present in the room including Joe Harvie and Alan McCombes. The witness was then referred to one of her police statements (she has made 5 in all) and she confirms that Mr Rowan was "hysterical and upset" in the bar.

Ms Kane was then shown a story from the 14th November 2004 headlined "My kinky 4 in a bed orgy with Tommy" and asked if she believed this was accurate. She said she didnt' know and further did not realise that this had any connection with Mr Rowan. She was then shown another story from the next issue of the paper headed "Liar, Liar,  Party refuses to believe Sheridan over private life" and again denied any knowledge of it. She also stuck to her previous testimony that Mr Rowan had said in the Stanley Bar "Tommy has taken my girlfiriend away."

Ms Kane was then asked, and denied, the existance of an "anti-Sheridan" faction in the party and described the United Left group, which the defence contends made up this faction" as a safe place for people to meet and discuss issues.

In the most dramatic testimony of the morning Ms Kane was asked about a story that appeared in the Scottish Sunday Herald in May 2006 and if she had any knowledge of who the "senior SSP official" was who had signed a affidavit laying the basis of that story. She said she had not known at the time but had found out "in the last two weeks." On further questioning she revealed the official in question was Alan McCombes. Mr Sheridan then asked that if there was "no plot to do him in" why had Mr McCombes went "scurrying to the newspapers" to which Ms Kane responded that "you would have to ask Alan about that." Mr Sheridan responded "I can assure you we will." She was also asked again about the supposed minute of the SSP meeting of the 9th November and if it was ever ratified. She accepted it may not have been which could make it just a "story on a piece of paper" but added that she still considered it to be a true reflection of the meeting.

Mr Sheridan asked the witness if she had ever stated that "Tommy has got too big for his boots" or that "we are going to get rid of him."  Ms Kane stated she didn't recall ever saying that to which Mr Sheridan put it to her that she had said this in the Stanley bar and that he had witnesses to that. Mr Sheridan also had shown a video of him asking a question (on the Iraq war) at Scottish First Ministers questions on Thursday 11th November despite the disputed minute stating he was to be asked to withdraw his question. Ms Kane said she assumed that Francis Curran or Colin Fox were to ask Mr Sheridan to withdraw his question and she did not know if this had been done or not.

The cross examination finished with an animated exchange between Ms Kane and Mr Sheridan, who recalling that Ms Kane had been involved in some acting work and accused her of being a "drama queen" to which Ms Kane replied "Like yourself Tommy."

The Advocate deputy declined to re-examine and Ms Kane stepped down.

The morning continued with the recall of previous witnesses, starting with Colin Fox. We will report on this later today.


former ssp said...

So Alan gave the minutes to the Herald and then went to jail to stop them becoming public?

Anonymous said...

Bernard Ponsonby was correct then about Colin Fox being recalled - good old Bernard, always on the ball.

Unknown said...

The SSP are finished! To find out after all this time that McCombes has been leading them a merry dance is a shock too far.

Anonymous said...


That's a bizarre interpretation.

McCombes simply made a statement of fact at a time when a great many lies were being spread from a certain section of the party.

Anonymous said...

Alan McCombes, well,well,well!!!. I suppose every party has a Peter Mandelson.

Unknown said...

No, unless Kane was wrong today, Mccombes went to the Herald before the SSP had made a decision on the meeting and the didnt tell her until two weeks ago. he goes to the party 4 years ago and argues that party documents are secret and goes to jail to defend that, while knowing all along that he gave his version to a paper in 2004.

I think they are finished because he has been a leading member and now they have found out that he has decieved them all along.

Anonymous said...

Please read the facts.

McCoombes gave an affidavit to the Herald, not the minutes.

I fail to see how this means the SSP are 'finished', though this has always clearly been Sheridan's agenda - if he's going down, he's taking as many former comrades with him as he can manage.

Unknown said...

Motions voted on at SSP Special National Council, Sunday 28 May 2006, Glasgow
Emergency Motion

Inverness Branch

This meeting notes the revelations in today's Sunday Herald that a senior SSP official handed over a sworn affidavit to that newspaper in November 2004 giving full details of the EC meeting at which Tommy Sheridan was forced to resign as convener.

This meeting expresses anger and astonishment that at a time when Alan McCombes is in prison for refusing to make confidential SSP minutes available to the state or the News of the World, one or more leading members of the party were aware that the contents of the minutes were already in the possession of the bourgeois press as a result of their actions. This shows a level of cynicism and contempt for party members which is beyond belief.

This meeting therefore calls for the immediate resignation of the senior party member involved and of any other leading members who were involved in and/or aware of this information. In addition, the NC calls for disciplinary action to be considered against al those who were involved in and/or aware of this situation but kept it from party members.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it is a bit harsh, Jim (even though I usually agree with your points), considering that McCoombes went to jail and was left considerably out of pocket. It was nothing more than a simple statement of fact.

Anonymous said...

"left considerably out of pocket"

Was he?.

Unknown said...

what was a statement of fact?

He didnt tell the SSP he had given a version of events to the herald and then took their hero worship as a guy who would go to jail to defend confidentiality. The party voted for the resignation of the person responsible for the affidavit and then he didnt tell the party it was him. Kane says she was told two weeks ago, the other witnesses have said that they dont know who it was.

The party is finsihed because the members will be disillusioned that the person who led them to the crazy defy strategy is the very one who had no respect for confidentiality.

His action contradicts everything he has said for 6 years re the party.

cant wait till his book comes out :-)

Shug said...

For god sake he didnt hand minutes over, he talked off record to a journo who clearly asked for an affidavit to cover his arse legally. It's s bit cheeky to get on at mccombes since Sheridan went to the papers himself about the stories and about mccombes and Carolyn Leckie at the same time (before the meeting Jim is quoting) and wasn't that meeting a viscious fight anyway?

Unknown said...

yes anon, it was reported at the time that he was fined £500 and had £45,000 court costs to pay.

Anonymous said...

You lack logic. I'm guessing members are more worried about the by the current wrecking attempt on the SSP by TS.

Anonymous said...

It is notable that it was the Sunday Herald. Alan McCoombes actions appear more of a "butt-covering" exercise on his part.

Unknown said...

Anon said: "Please read the facts. McCoombes gave an affidavit to the Herald, not the minutes."

McCombes said on 27 May 2006:
""I took my stand on the clear position that the Scottish
Socialist Party, like all democratic organisations, has the right to hold private discussions on sensitive matters and for those
discussions to remain confidential."
(full statement below)

Anonymous said...

The whole point of giving an affidavit is to give an independently verifiable, documented, and time-stamped version of events. True, McCoombes could have gone to a lawyer. Giving an affidavit to the Sunday Herald would also make it a lot harder for him to backtrack on his version of events, as we have seen with the "disputed minutes". Maybe, McCoombes didn't expect the Sunday Herald to be so quick of the mark to publish.

Anonymous said...

If McCoombes wanted to leave himself some "wiggle room", why go to the Sunday Herald?

Whatsy said...

Good account of the morning's proceedings.

I'm still scratching my head at McCombes's admission to Kane that he supplied the affadavit to the Herald before subsequently going to jail for withholding similar evidence at the civil trial.

McCombes's name seemed to be a genuine surprise to TS who didn't seem to know what to do with that info, and Colin Fox didn't seem to know about it either.

Another bizarre day in the High Court.

Incidentally, who is the woman sitting at the front right of the public gallery (late middle-age, blond hair, red coat today) gesticulating vigourously in support of everything TS says? Is that his mum?

Blog author - feel free to delete that last paragraph of mine if you feel it is inappropriate before posting.

James Doleman said...

Hello Whatsy, yes I believe the lady you are referring to is Mrs Alice Sheridan.

Unknown said...

anon: "Maybe, McCoombes didn't expect the Sunday Herald to be so quick of the mark to publish."

McCombes gave the affidavit to the herald in november 2004, they published parts of it in May 2006. Quick off the mark?

Anonymous said...

I can concur Whatsy, she is indeed is Mrs Alice Sheridan.

Anonymous said...

"yes anon, it was reported at the time that he was fined £500 and had £45,000 court costs to pay."

I will say that again."Was he?".

You are making statements on something you don`t know about. No one knows what McCombes or others arrangements with the newspapers were/are. Let us wait and see what transpires before making anymore statements as to what is or is not.

Unknown said...

thats wasnt about newspapers anon, that was his personal fine and court costs follwing breaching a court order to hand over all minutes and documents.

Anonymous said...

There is a world of difference between giving an "affidavit" to a newspaper and "selling a story"; the former implies that no money changed hands, the later obviously. If Alan McCoombes received money for this "affidavit" he wouldn't really be an affidavit, would it.

Anonymous said...

yes... if it transpires that alan mccoombes received payment for this "affidavit" it will cast him in a most unfavourable light, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

lol that'd be like some leggy blonde giving an "affidavit" to the NoW that some footballer had cheated on his wife with her.

Unknown said...

The point here is that McCombes went to jail pretending to defend the right of confidentiality and his actions by going to the newspaper contradicted that principle.

That he went to the Herald before the SSP had decided what to do about the resignation meeting is bad enough, that he didnt tell anyone until now is terrible.

The party voted for the person who was responsible for the affidavit to resign, he didnt out his hands up to it.

He decieved the SSP for 6 years

Jim M said...

jim said
The SSP are finished! To find out after all this time that McCombes has been leading them a merry dance is a shock too far.
I think most within the SSP are wary of McCoombes which is why he is not the glorious leader, the SSP are in better shape than Solidarity, how many leading members of the SSP have jumped ship and joined Labour.

Anonymous said...


I don`t think you grasped what I was saying there. It`s all to do with subtraction maths, never mind!. I am sure my posts have not gone amiss on others.

paw_42 said...

I discovered this blog over the weekend, and it is better than following the trial in the press.

Can anyone who has attended the trial say whether it has emerged;
Why did George McNeilage make that video tape of Tommy Sheridan and himself? Why did he sell it to the NOtW?

Trying to Catch up. This blog helps!

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that McCoombes felt that there was an almighty storm brewing and that he ran to the Sunday Herald for some cover.

Anonymous said...

Why did George McNeilage make that video tape of Tommy Sheridan and himself? Why did he sell it to the NOtW? - Good questions? Any answers?

James Doleman said...

Hello Paw, Mr McNeilege has not testified yet so I'd ask people not to speculate as we can only discuss issues that have already been heard by the jury.

paw_42 said...

Thanks, James Doleman. I should have thought of that. Before or after the video footage was shown in court, was any mention made of how or why the conversation was filmed?

As I said, I am trying to catch up, now that I have found this blog. I'll just have to wait until G McNeilage testifies.


James Doleman said...

Hello Paw, there is a post below called "Video" which summarises what has been said in court about it so far.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many SSP members will resign after all this.

Does anyone know how many members Solidarity/SSP have at the moment?.

What was the membership of the SSP before all this started?.

Just trying to find out the damage all this has done. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Membership of the SSP at its peak was around 3.5K. Although I dont know definatively, I would guess current membership is between 0.75-1.25K. Hard to tell with Solidarity - depends if you count the CWI and SWP or not.

Jim M said...

dont know abnout membership although I read it is 2 to 1 in favour of the SSP
heres the three left parties who put up candidates in Scotland's accounts.
Scottish Socialist Party Income £72,228 (-£5,939) Expenditure £69,258 (+£324)

Socialist Labour Party Income £11,705 (+£2,450) Expenditure £9,466 (+£3,342) (Members 3,194)

Solidarity Income £38,424 (-£8,285) Expenditure £37,494 (-£8,814)

Anonymous said...

As I understand it McCombes' family were being doorstepped by journalists and Tommy and friends were feeding his side of the story to the papers, and knowing the media McCombes gave out his side to the paper. Basically he went off record with a journo who then essentially revealed more about his source than journos usually do. Honestly I think Jim M is getting way too excited about this, because he didn't hand the minutes over to the papers, and wasn't all he said to the paper was that Tommy had been asked to resign by the SSP EC? I mean that was common knowledge, right? Did the affadavit even mention WHY?

The whole point of keeping the minutes away was on some point of principle about not handing them over to the 'state'.

Anonymous said...

McCombes - well , well, well - who'd have thunk it?

This is also the same Alan McCombes who watched a secretly recorded video allegedly of Mr. Sheridan along with Carolyn Leckie and George McnEilage in his Glasgow flat. Mcneilage has publicly claimed to have secretly taped and received a significant payment from News of the World for this.

Ms Kane has testified that this Glasgow flat was also used for a 'secret' meeting prior to the the SSP executive meeting on 9/11 to plan how to deal with Mr. Sheridan

The McCombes revelations will no doubt leave many SSP members in s state of shock and evoke feelings of betrayal. They have clearly been treated like canonfodder and their trust for what as left of the original leadership has been abused. Although arguably the SSP was already finished when an inner sanctum of SSP executive members approved the release to thousands of people of a bulletin in August 2006 which indirectly accused a large part of the party's membership of support for paedophilia.

Mark Porciani said...

Could Alan McCombes, opp's meant to say Anonymous please use his real name. McCombes false bravery of going to jail fooled nobody in 2006. And fool's us even less now !!!

Anonymous said...

"As I understand it" - lol, I bet you do, Mr Alan McCoombes. Anyway, nice to have you on board... well, the blog at least.

Anonymous said...

"going to jail" - ? According to the every reliable scum McCoombes was "caged".

Anonymous said...

"which indirectly accused a large part of the party's membership of support for paedophilia"

Oh please, it did no such thing, that was a weak accusation then and it's even weaker now.

And really, is commenting on "false bravery" of witnesses who've yet to give evidence really ok? And on a point of logic, why the hell would he go to Saughton? For laughs? I'm sure that lockdown while there was a riot was a real hoot.

Unknown said...

too true Mark, you couldnt make it up. In the disputed minute we see McCombes being concerned about operating independently of the party and then he does this 4 days later! The fact that he kept quiet when he went to jail, then kept quiet when the party voted for the culprit to resign shows a level of contempt for SSP members that is beyond belief. I must admit to being very surprised that it was McCombes though.

Anonymous said...

People need to stop pretending that Alan McCombes is commenting on this blog. He clearly is not and it's dodgy to suggest so. Just stick to discussion of what's said not what you think's been said because of your wild imaginations

Anonymous said...

"Oh please, it did no such thing, that was a weak accusation then and it's even weaker now"

This is both dishonest and false.

The SSP Member Bulletin opf August 2006 states:

"Some elements of the SSP - notably the Socialist Worker platform - have argued the ultra-libertarian position that even prominent leaders of the socialist movement have the right to behave as they wish in private.
In contrast, most people would draw the line at exploitative behaviour such as paedophilia"

Anonymous said...

"right to behave as they wish in private" is not the same thing as "endorsing paedophilia", is it, any more than the "right to behave as they wish in private" is "endorsing boiling cute bunny rabbits alive" is it? that's twisting things, wouldn't you say.?

Anonymous said...

Who are "most people" being 'contrasted' to?

It is a statement of fact taht an inner sanctum of SSP executive members approved the release to thousands of people of a bulletin in August 2006 which indirectly accused a large part of the party's membership of support for paedophilia.

It was shameful then and is still shocking now. The same group did everything they could to suppress the resultant outrage it caused among the membership - this was apparently in a desperate attempt to avoid exacerbating a situation in which a massive number of people were tearing up their membership cards in disgust.

It is not a defend-able position to try and pretend this did not happen.