Monday, October 4, 2010

Day One Afternoon

The afternoon session was taken up with the Prosecution's first witness Barbara Scott, who in 2004 was employed as parliamentary assistant to Scottish Socialist Party MSPs Carolyn Leckie and Frances Curran. In addition to this paid position she was also elected as minute secretary to the SSP executive committee and it was in this capacity she attended an SSP executive meeting at the organisation's Glasgow office on the 9th November 2004.

Ms Scott stated that her normal practice was to take handwritten notes at executive meetings which she then later typed up for distribution. The prosecution began with these handwritten notes (which were not considered at the civil trial, of which more below)

According Ms Scott's notes Tommy Sheridan admitted at the 9th November meeting that he had indeed attended the controversial "Swingers Club" in Manchester on two occasions. The notes read.

" "Two visits 1996, 2002, mistake, reckless etc. Publication of book by someone, two other MSPs named. For two weeks someone been trying to sell story to newspapers.

She stated Mr Sheridan had informed those at the meeting that there was no proof of his visits and if there was he would resign, but asked for the chance to fight on.

Ms Scott went on to state that other attendees spoke against this position claiming that a cover-up would discredit the whole Scottish Socialist Party. Alan McCombes is supposed to have drawn an analogy with the Monica Lewinski affair where it was the public denials that hurt President Clinton more than the initial allegation. She also informed the court that after the meeting the handwritten notes where taken into safekeeping by Alan Green the then National Secretary of the SSP.

The prosecution then moved on to the typed version of the minutes, produced according to Ms Scott on or around the 16th of November at the SSP office at Stanley Street Glasgow. To avoid the minutes leaking to the press she created the typewritten version on a floppy disc, printed one copy and then deleted the disc. Alan Green again kept custody of the only copy.

Ms Scott also claimed that when she was a witness in the libel action taken by Mr Sheridan against the News Of the World that she had the written notes "In her handbag" while she was in the witness box. She claims she was asked by the lawyer for the News of The World about the original notes however she did not mention she had them in her possession.

She further informed the court that, three or so days after Tommy Sheridan's victory in the libel trial, she took the original notes to Fettes Police station in Edinburgh and told the police she had evidence that a crime, ie perjury, had been committed by Mr Sheridan. She did this, she claims to "clear her name" and when asked confirmed that she was accompanied to the Police station by then MSPs Carolyn Leckie and Rosie Kane.

She was also shown another purported minute of the 9th November meeting which did not contain any reference to any alleged admissions by Mr Sheridan. She denied was an it accurate note of what occurred at the meeting in question.

At that point the court rose with Ms Scott to continue giving evidence tomorrow.

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