Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday afternoon Carolyn Leckie/Catriona Grant (Updated)

The first witness this afternoon was another recalled witness, Carolyn Leckie, an SSP MSP from 2003 to 2007. I do not have a full note of her evidence or that of Catriona Grant as I was asked by the police, as were other people, not to take notes until we had spoken to the clerk of the court. I did this after the case ended for the day and the situation has been resolved however I do not have a note of the session.

Thankfully there is an excellent BBC report Here (thanks to Stephen for the link)   and regular commentator Whatsy has kindly sent her recollection.

"The following accounts of witnesses Carolyn Leckie and Catriona Grant's testimony has been done from memory, as the public gallery were prevented from using notes at this time. Where quotes are used, I feel they are very close to what was said, but with the lack of written notes, they may not be fully accurate.

Carolyn Leckie – during this testimony, CL was warned twice by Bracadale to limit herself to answering the question, and also chided by TS for asking her own questions when she should be answering his.

Witness recalled by Advocate Depute on behalf of Tommy Sheridan. AdDep declined to examine witness.

TS opened by questioning the witness about how she felt about TS's leadership in the SSP in 2004, suggesting that she thought he was getting too much attention. The witness denied this.
TS then asked Leckie to recall who was the press officer of the SSP in 2004. The witness answered, to which TS asked her if she would like to guess again, then gave her the answer of Hugh Kerr. "Ah, how could I forget Hugh?".
TS: "You didn't like Hugh Kerr, did you?"
I wouldn't say I didn't like him, but there were some things he did that I didn't like regarding his inappropriate behaviour towards women.
I spoke to you about Hugh's inappropriate behaviour, as you will remember.
TS: You thought he was too close to me, didn't you?
CL: Nonsense - if I thought you were close, why would I come to you about Hugh?

Discussion about the video tape made by George McNeilage for NotW.
TS suggests that Leckie and particularly her partner Alan McCombes had helped McNeilage write the script for the tape, and that they had received payment from McNeilage during a particular visit he made to McCombes's flat. CL denies this with comments of "utter nonsense" and "ridiculous", and points out that both she and McNeilage live in a style inconsistent with having lots of money, and offers to show the court her bank statements to prove there have been no large deposits.
TS: Did you watch the tape?
CL: I watched some of it, but I didn't watch it all. There was only so much I could take of you referring to me as "that cunt Leckie".

TS starts to question CL on how she felt about him winning the original case against News International/NotW and also him being elected as party co-chair in 2006. She said she had disagreed with the verdict but had expected his election to that post.

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice objected to TS framing a question regarding his election to a post in the SSP as evidence of the SSP membership believing his account of the various events in question, and Lord Bracadale agreed, directing TS not to impute from his election what party members believed. TS began to ask the question again in a similar style and was immediately interrupted by Bracadale "Mr Sheridan! I have just directed you!" to which TS hastily reworded the question more successfully.

Catriona Grant

Witness recalled by Advocate Depute on behalf of Tommy Sheridan. AdDep declined to examine witness.

TS opened his questioning by asking CG “You don't like me, do you?”, to which CG agreed at some length.
There followed a discussion on CG's membership of the “United Left” and/or “Anti-Tommy” SSP faction, and some assertions from Grant that much of the pro/anti Tommy divisions were down to gender.


Watcher said...

Would be interesting to hear (if you can tell us) what reason was given by the clerk of court, given that you and others have already been taking copious notes...a request from the defence perhaps?

Anonymous said...

I notice the BBC reporter managed to describe her evidence - were the BBC allowed to take notes?

James Doleman said...

I think it was just a mix up, I don't usually sit in the press seats and they were asking everyone outside there not to take notes.

Hopefully all sorted now.

Anonymous said...

Get yourself an "Internet press card" printed out and get into the press box.

Watcher said...

You can have mine if you want..

Dementia Rules said...

I doubt this would be the case. This blog has been the most accurate account of events, especially to those of us unable to attend court.

Anonymous said...

Your efforts will be rewarded James, keep up the good work as it is appreciated by all those who cannot personally attend.

Lorraine said...

I've been in court many times (albeit the Sheriff Court) and the journalist from the Digger is often sitting in the public gallery taking notes openly. Also observing students, housing officers etc etc- never heard of anyone being spoken to by the clerk for taking notes before.

James Doleman said...

I think they just want to know who you are and why you are taking notes Lorraine, which seems fair enough.

Lorraine said...

As long as they didnt give you any bother, thats the main thing.

Anonymous said...

I was expecting Nimmo to offer some corroboration of Fox's subornation allegation, given his well-known closeness to the Edinburgh chanter. There will be other evidence on that charge to come and I am wondering where it will come from. We could not have this charge get this far without corroboration. Does anyone know if there are other witnesses on this charge (staff at the beanscene?) If not, we can expect some physical evidence like a photgraph or tape to come. That will be crucial in the case. So far, we have only had Fox's word against Sheridans, that wouldnt be enough to merit the PF making the charge, never mind get it to this stage.

justaglasgowguy said...

It does seem bizarre that members of the public can be stopped from taking written notes in a court room. What law stops us from doing so, other than the whim of a judge?

Anonymous said...

From the Scottish Judiciary website FAQ's

In answer to the question "Can the media record what happens or take photos in court?"

"Photography, filming and audio recording are not permitted in court without prior approval, including the consent of the judge and all parties to the case. The media may obtain permission if it is felt to be in the public interest.. However, anyone may take written notes in court."

Please note the last sentence refers to "anyone" not simply the media.

Perhaps if the police or clerk of court asks people to stop note-taking, they can be referred to that website.

Anonymous said...

maybe so, justaglasgowguy and anon, but a courtroom is like a judges's office, the judge makes the rules, and if you don't want to play, you are welcome to leave. as for the polis, well there is the strict letter of the law, and the law as the polis apply it.

Whatsy said...

Re: 9:45am - Thanks for that link. Dunno what stopped me from looking for it before.