Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Crown Case so far.

As court is not sitting until Friday I thought this might be a good opportunity to take a step back from the day to day reports and try and discuss what point the trial has reached, starting with the prosecution case so far.

The original indictment against the two accused, (which can be found Here) is a long document so I'll try and summarise it as best I can. All of the charges in it relate to the civil trial Sheridan vs News International held in Edinburgh in 2006 (see Here for the Wiki on that case) and state that Thomas Sheridan did commit perjury by denying:
  1. He had been to the Cupids club in Manchester.
  2. He had admitted this at the SSP executive of 9/11/06 and on various other occasions.
  3. He was in a "sexual relationship with Katrine Trolle and Anvar Khan
  4. He had been given the minutes of the "9/11" meeting by Alan Green at the Golden Pheasant
  5.  He had attended an event at the Moathouse hotel in Glasgow on 14/06/2002 (and various charges relating to that)
There is also one non-perjury charge against Tommy Sheridan, that he attempted to suborn Colin Fox to make false testimony at the 2006 trial in the Beanscene cafe in Edinburgh.

So far we have heard from these 21 witnesses (twice in the case of the first 8 as Mr Sheridan re-examined them after he decided to conduct his own defence) 
  • Barbara Scott, former SSP minute secretary
  • Allan Green, former SSP national secretary
  • Felicity Garvie, former personal assistant to Tommy Sheridan.
  • Carolyn Leckie, former MSP
  • Catriona Grant, former SSP co-chair
  • Colin Fox, SSP joint national spokesperson
  • Duncan Rowan, former SSP regional organiser
  • Allison Kane, former SSP treasurer
  • Joanna Harvie, former editor Scottish Socialist Voice
  • Rosie Kane, former MSP
  • Katrine Trolle, SSP candidate
  • Gary Clark, footballer and friend of Sheridan
  • Ruth Adamson, housemate of Katrine Trolle
  • Ralph Barnett, acquaintance of Katrine Trolle
  • Steven Nimmo, former SSP regional organiser
  • Ritchie Venton, SSP regional organiser
  • Frances Curran,  SSP joint national spokesperson
  • Kevin McVey, SSP national secretary
  • Anvar Khan, journalist
  • Susan Dobbie,
  • Elizabeth Quinn, neighbour of Anvar Khan
  • Alan McCombes, SSP executive member
  • John Penman, former SSP regional organiser
  • Tony Cumberbirch, Cupids worker
  • Louise Cumberbirch, Cupids worker
  • Iain Campbell, former SSP regional organiser
  • Jim McVicar, former Glasgow city councillor
  • Charlie McCarthy, SSP candidate
  • Jack Ferguson, SSP activist
  • Liam Young, SSP branch organiser
  • George McNeilage, SSP activist

Of these witnesses 14 attended the SSP executive of 9/11/04 and all but one have testified that Mr Sheridan did admit to attending the Cupids club. The exception so far, John (Jock Penman), stated  that  Mr Sheridan had admitted a relationship with Anvar Khan in the early 1990's but nothing else. There have been two documents shown in court that purport to be minutes of that meeting plus handwritten notes that the prosecution claims were written contemporaneously  by Barbara Scott. The minutes are a hotly disputed piece of evidence and much of the testimony has also discussed a further executive meeting on 24/11/04 and if the minutes were presented and formally approved there.

Alan Green has testified he showed the disputed minute to Mr Sheridan on Friday 12th May 2006 when he met Mr Sheridan at the Golden Pheasant public house. The other attendee at that  meeting, Colin Fox, was said to be away from the pair when this occurred. 

Duncan Rowan has told the court of a meeting he had with a News of the World journalist who secretly taped him naming Katrine Trolle as having an affair with Mr Sheridan

Colin Fox has testified that he did meet Mr Sheridan at the Beanscene cafe on 18/06/06 and that Mr Sheridan did attempt to influence him to change the evidence he was about to give at the Court of Session

The court has also heard from three people who allegedly accompanied Mr Sheridan on  the Cupids trip. Gary Clarke, Katrine Trolle and Anvar Khan and also one witness, Tony Cumberbirch who claimed to have seen Mr Sheridan at the club (one other witness Louise Cumberbirch did recall a visit by a group of Scottish people but could not identify any of them in court) 

Ruth Adamson and Ralph Burnett both told the court that they had met Mr Sheridan in the company of Katrine Trolle in a house in Dundee in October 2004.

Elizabeth Quinn told the court that she had seen Tommy Sheridan and Anvar Khan together in her flat on the 11th August 2003, and understood from a subsequent conversation with Ms Khan that the two had had sex together in her bedroom.

Susan Dobbie testified that she had attended a house party in Glasgow with Anvar Khan, Andrew McFarlane and Tommy Sheridan. No date was given.

Four SSP members in the list have testified that Mr Sheridan made admissions to them in 2005 in the "Rat and Parrot' public house or in Mr Sheridan's car. Jack Ferguson stated that John  Penman had told him that he would "lie for Tommy Sheridan."

Mr McNeilage testified that a video tape shown in court was an accurate record of a meeting between him and Tommy Sheridan in November 2004. In the tape the person identified by him as Mr Sheridan says he did visit the Cupids club and also that he had admitted being there to the SSP executive. Mr McNeilage has also told the court of meeting Mr Bob Bird, the Scottish editor of the News of the World, a meeting at which Mr Bird stripped to his "boxer shorts" to show he had no listening devices on his person, and of the £200,000 payment he received from the Newspaper for the video tape.

We still have 3-4 weeks of the Crown case to go (according to an estimate given to the jury by Lord Bracadale last week) so there is clearly much evidence we have not heard. 

Our next post will deal with the defence so far,


James Doleman said...

If anyone spots anything I've missed out please stick it in the comments and I'll add it to the main post.

Fireman Sam said...


I make it 30 witnesses so far.

They are (in order of their appearance in court):

1. Barbara Scott
2. Alison Kane
3. Alan Green
4. Colin Fox
5. Duncan Rowan
6. Felicity Garvie
7. Carolyn Leckie
8. Catriona Grant
9. Joanna Harvie
10. Rosie Kane
11. Katrine Trolle
12. Gary Clark
13. Ralph Barnett
14. Ruth Adamson
15. Steven Nimmo
16. Ritchie Venton
17. Francis Curran
18. Anvar Khan
19. Elizabeth Quinn
20. Susan Dobbie
21. Alan McCombes
22. John Penman
23. Louise Cumberbirch
24. Anthony Cumberbirch
25. Ian Campbell
26. Charlie McCarthy
27. James McVicar
28. Liam Young
29. Jack Ferguson
30. George McNeilage

At least, I think this is right.

Whatsy said...

Excellent idea to summarise where we are so far.

Would it be worth listing the witnesses against each of the charges their testimony is relevant to?

Whatsy said...

Also, if it's not breaking any rules, I'd be really interested to know what people think of the witnesses so far.

As this blog post relates purely to the Crown case, not the defence, I'd suggest people post the three best witnesses for the Crown so far, with reasons why they chose them. Then maybe the three worst Crown witnesses, again with reasons.

Once James posts his summary of the Defence case so far, I'd be interested to do the same for that.

James Doleman said...

Top 3 witnesses? Hmm that might be a bit close to commenting on the veracity of them for comfort.

Iago said...

What about the case against Gail Sheridan? Will that also be concluded in the 3-4 weeks? Is there a summary of the instances where she is alleged to have perjured herself?

Mike said...

List your best/worst 3 witnesses?

And do the top 3 get to go to the Judge's house, while the bottom 3 are 'eliminated'?

This isn't X-Factor, ffs.

Redspelk said...

The only comment I shall make is in thanking you for this site which is a model of court reporting. Thanks and keep it up

James Doleman said...

Hello Iago, to be honest the case against Gail has barely been touched upon, I will be covering it when more comes out but anything I wrote at the moment would be a bit fragmentary.

Her indictment is

Monday (3) on 31 July 2006 at the Court of Session, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh, you GAIL SHERIDAN being sworn as a witness in a civil jury trial of an action for defamation then proceeding there at the instance of Thomas Sheridan, MSP, your husband, residing at Paisley Road West, Cardonald, Glasgow against News Group Newspapers Limited, 124 Portman Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow as publishers of the News of the World newspaper did falsely depone:

that you saw and spoke to Katrine Trolle, c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, at the Scottish Socialist Party Conference held in Perth in 2005, and that said Katrine Trolle told you there that the News of the World had been at her door, asking her if she had had an affair with Tommy Sheridan and had offered her money and that she hugged and kissed you and touched your "tummy";

that you had checked your diaries and the diaries of said Thomas Sheridan for November 2001 and November 2002 and that the entries confirmed that you had been at home overnight during every weekend in November 2001 and November 2002;

that you could recall that you spent every weekend in November 2001 and November 2002 with said Thomas Sheridan; that you were present and witnessed said Thomas Sheridan on an occasion telephoning Directory Enquiries and asking for the telephone number of Cupid's Health Club, 13-17 Sutherland Street, Swinton, Manchester known as Cupid's and said Thomas Sheridan telephoning the said Cupid's;

that your aunt, Annie Healy c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh arrived into Scotland from the United States of America on 14 June 2002; that said Thomas Sheridan was in your company during the whole of the evening of the 14 June 2002 and returned home with you after midnight on 15 June 2002;

and g)/ that you and said Thomas Sheridan visited Andrew McFarlane c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, at his home at 216 Tweedmuir Road, Glasgow after 10pm on the 14 June 2002 when said Andrew McFarlane and James McManus c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh were present there between that time and when you left with said Thomas Sheridan after midnight on the 15 June 2002;

the truth being as you well knew, that you did not see or speak to said Katrine Trolle at the Scottish Socialist Party Conference held in Perth between 11 and 13 February 2005 and that the said Katrine Trolle did not tell you that the News of the World had been at her door asking her if she had an affair with Tommy Sheridan and had offered her money and said Katrine Trolle did not hug and kiss you and touch your "tummy";

that you had recorded in your diary that you had travelled to Miami on Tuesday 20 November 2001 and you were in Miami on the weekend of 24 and 25 November 2001 and that said Thomas Sheridan had recorded in his diary that you were away between 21 and 28 November 2001;

that you were in Miami on 24 and 25 November 2001 and you did thus not spend every weekend in November 2001 with said Thomas Sheridan; that on 23 November 2001 you were not present on the occasion when said Thomas Sheridan phoned directory enquiries and said Cupid's in Manchester;

that your aunt, said Annie Healy arrived in Scotland from the United States of America on 12 June 2002; that you were not with said Thomas Sheridan during the whole of the evening of 14 June 2002;

and that you were not in the company of said Thomas Sheridan, Andrew McFarlane and James McManus within 216 Tweedmuir Road, Glasgow continuously between 10pm on 14 June and 1am on 15 June 2002.

gordonc1960 said...

Great blog, thnaks. Has it been established if the trial will recommence on Friday?

Whatsy said...

Re: Mike
"List your best/worst 3 witnesses?

And do the top 3 get to go to the Judge's house, while the bottom 3 are 'eliminated'?

This isn't X-Factor, ffs.

Well it wouldn't work if you treat it in such a silly way. I was thinking more in terms of how consistent and convincing their testimony was, and how much their testimony helped the Crown compared with how much it could have potentially helped the Crown. I think everyone appreciates that this is fairly serious.

Also, the comments have been fragmented across each day's sessions and witnesses, and it's hard for me to guage what the general perception is of the relative merits of each witness.

Still, if James thinks it's a bit risky I'm fine with that.

James Doleman said...

Hello gordonc1960, court will recommence on Friday, however if Mr Sheridan is still ill I'd assume we would adjourn again.

Jim said...

I don't think it's appropriate about expressing who the best or worst witnesses are on a blog whilst the trial is ongoing and particularly when witnesses are still affirmed until conviction.

Indeed until the prosecution is finished some of the "worst" witnesses may prove to be the best if it matches other evidence and then corroborates it. It's about context really.

Pauline said...

James,great blog! how available are seats in the courtroom or is it the same faces every day

the_voice_of_reason said...

At this stage it would be dangerous for anyone to comment on the credibility or reliability of any witness. There is a very good reason why judges always tell jurors not to discuss the case until they've heard all the evidence, and it's the very obvious one that they haven't yet heard all the evidence.

In a long trial, it may take several days for the significance of a piece of evidence to be come apparent; conversely, it may be several days later that evidence emerges that wholly contradicts the earlier evidence.

A summary of the type James has done here is fine, but commenting on, for example, who is truthful/telling lies on a public blog is not a brilliant idea.

Anonymous said...

Is that your cat Voice of Reason?

the_voice_of_reason said...

Looks like it...

I thought my picture was of a tinfoil hat, but that looks more like a cat to my eyes.

Christian Schmidt said...

If I assume for a moment that the crown is correct in that Sheridan did admit visiting a sex club at the 9/11 meeting, what puzzles me why on earth the SSP would minute this point.

"There was a general discussion on the current political situation and the situation of the SSP. At the end of the meeting Tommy Sheridan declared his resignation as Convener" would have been totally sufficient and given the leadership plenty of leeway to sit down and collectively and consensually decide what to do and what to say.

The accounts we have heard so far sounds soooo unprofessional.