Monday, November 1, 2010
Alan McCombes' Cross Examination Pt 1
After the close of the Advocate Depute's questioning of Alan McCombes Tommy Sheridan left the dock and moved to the court lectern to commence his cross-examination of the witness. He began by asking Mr McCombes if he had discussed his evidence with any other Crown witnesses. When Mr McCombes said he had not Mr Sheridan put it to the him that Rosie Kane had already testified that Mr McCombes had called to inform her that he was the source of the Sunday Herald affidavit. The witness replied "this isn't Newsnight and you're not Jeremy Paxman." At this point Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge intervened to remind the witness he was there to answer questions and not to make comments. Mr McCombes apologised to the court and Mr Sheridan proceeded.
Mr McCombes told the court that he had told Ms Kane about the affidavit "some weeks before the trial'"at a party in her flat. Mr Sheridan then pointed to the evidence of Kevin McVey that he had been told about the affidavit in the witness room by Mr McCombes. The witness responded that he did not regard the affidavit as an "evidential matter" as it had not been in evidence then. Mr Prentice then objected to this line of questioning and the jury retired while legal argument took place.
When the jury returned Mr McCombes informed the court that he had been in possession of the afidavit as the Sunday Herald had returned the original to him. He stated he could have destroyed it but had not. Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that he had kept the affidavit secret for six years to which Mr McCombes said he had never have been asked about it. The witness added that he had planned to inform party members about it, but had been advised that due to the "hysteria" in the party at the time had decided not to. Mr Sheridan then asked if this showed the witness could be "duplicitous when he wanted to be." Mr McCombes responded that he had been "confidential about it" but agreed he had kept the affidavit from the SSP generally.
Mr Sheridan then pressed Mr McCombes further on the affidivit, Mr McCombes made a long statement that he had done "whatever he had to do to protect the party, the members didn't have to know." He added that he thought Mr Sheridan was a "pathological liar" who was "reinventing a whole fantastical sequence of events" Mr Sheridan then produced a 11 Nov 2004 edition of the Scottish Daily Record and displayed an article titled "The Rise and Fall of Comrade Tommy" which contained a time-line of his career. Mr Sheridan pointed out the number of times he had been to prison for his political activities and this was not "very Daniel O'Donnell" Mr McCombes replied that showing the article was a "good way to show your track record to the jury"
Mr Sheridan then returned to the text message he received in error from Mr McCombes and suggested to the witness that it showed there were political tensions between the two before the 9th November executive meeting. Mr McCombes responded that he had reacted to the "utter contempt and venom" Mr Sheridan had showed to other party members, and added "if this is all the evidence you have of a plot it's pretty threadbare." Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that he "didn't spend time at demonstrations" and instead worked in the "background organising smears and plots," a statement Mr McCombes called "character assassination." Mr Sheridan stated that far from the Rose Gentle demonstration being "secret" he had announced it a SSP public meeting after a demonstration, and added that Mr McCombes didn't like him "hogging the limelight" and "taking all the credit." To this Mr McCombes responded "JK Rowling couldn't make up stories like you it's like a combination of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings."
Mr Sheridan then accused the witness of "lying" about writing all his newspaper articles for him, asserting that Mr McCombes had only been asked to write a few when "I was on holiday" Mr McCombes stated that "I wrote every one of your columns in the Sunday Herald and the majority of the Record's". Mr McCombes added that there was "no particle of disagreement before the 31st October 2004." Mr Sheridan replied that "you and I fell out in 2000 when you told me about your affair." a statement Mr McCombes called a "lie"
Mr Sheridan then put to Mr McCombes a statement he had made that Mr Sheridan's role in the SSP was that of a "mouthpiece" and said this was a derogatory term. Mr McCombed denied this and stated it was not meant that way. With that the court rose for the day with Mr McCombes returning tomorrow to continue his testimony.
Posted by James Doleman at 9:53 PM