Saturday, November 27, 2010

Douglas Wight Pt 3



In the final section of his examination of Mr Wight, (see Here and Here for his earlier testimony) Mr Sheridan returned to payments Ms McGuire received from News of the World. Mr Wight commented that “cash was irrelevant to her”, to which Mr Sheridan responded “So you offered her £20,000”, and then accused the witness of lying, and that Ms McGuire had been offered £10,000, and that this was not a person to whom cash was irrelevant as she was negotiating with the NoW for money. Mr Wight stated that this was not how it was at all. Mr Wight then denied that more cash had been offered to Ms McGuire if she phoned Mr Sheridan. Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness in “newspapers like yours that when you start waving wads of cash”, people would do all kinds of things. Mr Wight responded “You would know”, stating Mr Sheridan had been paid £30,000 for a Daily Record story. Mr Sheridan denied this, stating that "SSP witnesses said exactly the same thing, and it's not true" adding that "you just repeated a lie" Mr Wight  responded that this was the rumour in the newspaper trade.


Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he had offered money to Ann Colvin. Mr Wight replied that they “Didn't offer her money, no”, going on to state that she had come to the paper with the motivation of correcting statements she had seen from Mr Sheridan on TV denying various activities, and that payment only became an issue when a friend of Ms Colvin's came forward to corroborate her story and demanded payment, after which both women appointed a solicitor on their behalf to negotiate payment. Mr Wight went on to state that a contract of £7,000 was agreed with each woman on publication of the story, that there may have been an extra £3,000 payment available if they agreed to name everyone involved in the Moat House story, and that some interim payments were also made. Mr Wight also stated that he was not happy with either of the women getting any money, as they had come forward initially for different reasons.

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Wight if his testimony on payments to Ms Colvin and Ms Allison had always been his position, to which Mr Wight responded “Yes, but I am aware I gave an unclear answer before.”
 Mr Sheridan then put the live notes from Mr Wight's testimony in the 2006 defamation trial before him, where Mr Wight, being questioned by the News of the World lawyer, denied offering Ms Colvin & Ms Allison money and also denied that they were paid.

Mr Wight stated that they had come to the NoW and has asked for payment, and that £1,000 was paid to each in expenses, and that this may have slipped his mind during the 2006 trial. Mr Wight went on to state “I accept I should have been far clearer in 2006” and that “In my mind, I was thinking of their story payments”, further stating that he had nothing to gain by misleading his own lawyer, and that the contracts could have been produced in any case. Mr Wight continued that the point was that the NoW did not go round offering to pay witnesses, but that if they then asked for payment, they would then have to take a position on that, and that he had not told a lie but that he had made a mistake.

Mr Sheridan than asked why the witness had not discussed this with his lawyer beforehand, with the witness replying that he had had nothing to hide, but that he had a lot on at the time, including "looking after Fiona."

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness who he had discussed the "Moat House ladies" with before the 2006 court case, with Mr Wight responding that no lawyers were consulted, and that only Bob Bird, as his editor, was consulted, and that during this discussion he would not necessarily have been reminded of payments made.

Mr Sheridan then asked whether there was a culture of private and confidential cash payments at News of the World. Mr Wight stated that cash payments were indeed made, but that there was a note of everyone paid. Mr Sheridan then produced the News of the World's “Sheridan Costs” document dated 27 June 2007, consisting of a table of payments, many redacted by the commissioner. Mr Sheridan drew Mr Wight to two entries labeled "Private and Confidential cash payment" for £1,000 & £1,500, which the witness was unable to explain [note: these had the handwritten note "George McNeilage" next to them, which Bob Bird had previously testified adding, but this was not mentioned to the witness], then another two entries with Mr Wight's name against them, one for around £1,600, another for £2,173 labeled accommodation. Mr Wight stated these pertained to his three week stay in Scotland around the 2006 trial, and also included Ms McGuire's expenses as Mr McGuire had accompanied her,  adding that cash payments were very rarely paid in Scotland.

Mr Sheridan then drew attention to records of three cash payments from August 2006 totaling £2,500 attached to the “Sheridan Costs” document, with Mr Wight pointing out that these were dated after he had moved to London, and stated these were not evidence of a culture of cash payments.

Mr Sheridan then asked for the production of an affidavit from Fiona McGuire, but Lord Bracadale did not allow this, stating that this contained points Mr Sheridan could make to the jury, but not with this witness.

Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that Ms McGuire never once referred to the accused having a Pay As You Go phone. Mr Wight replied that Ms McGuire changed phone numbers and phones, and therefore had no record of Mr Sheridan's phone numbers.

At this point, court rose for lunch.


When court reconvened Mr Sheridan resumed his cross examination of crown witness Douglas Wight by placing in front of him a copy of the November 2004 News of the World featuring Fiona McGuire on the cover, showed Mr Wight his byline, and asked him to confirm that he was responsible for this “5 page splash" article. Mr Wight agreed he was.

Mr Sheridan then asked whether the witness knew that co-defendant Mrs Gail Sheridan was pregnant at the time of publication. Mr Wight agreed that he was aware of this. Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Wight whether he knew when the Sheridans had got married, and Mr Wight confirmed that he did, and that he had covered the story for the NoW.

Mr Sheridan then questioned Mr Wight whether Fiona McGuire getting the date of the Sheridan wedding wrong should have been a cause for concern, with the witness replying that he was not sure at the time, but had also queried Ms McGuire's recollection of the wedding dates, but had himself suggested an incorrect date instead.

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness how many times Ms McGuire said she had met Mr Sheridan, and when the witness was unable to give an answer, quoted previous evidence stating it was every couple of months over four years, amounting to 24 meetings. Mr Wight did not accept this number  of meetings as an accurate interpretation of the phrase “every couple of months”, but accepted that during the meetings she had with Mr Sheridan, she never produced a clear date for any of them, and although she named some hotels where she claimed to have met Mr Sheridan, because she had often paid in cash, used a different name and never gave a precise date, there wouldn't be any record. During this exchange, Mr Sheridan mistakenly addressed Mr Wight as “Mr Bird” for the third time over the course of the day, with Mr Wight again correcting him before continuing.

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Wight whether he had ever asked staff at any of the hotels if they could recall Mr Sheridan staying, or using their restaurant, and Mr Wight stated that he had not contacted any of the hotels due to not having precise dates to check. Mr Sheridan stated that he might have been considered a well known figure in Scotland at the time, and that hotel staff might have been expected to remember him, but Mr Wight again stated that he had not contacted them.

Mr Sheridan questioned Mr Wight on his examination of Ms McGuire's phone records, with Mr Wight stating that she only submitted her phone and records for examination by the NoW after the story had been published. Mr Sheridan recounted how, from some of Ms McGuire's previous statements, she had described how the process of arranging to meet the accused was always the same – Mr Sheridan would text or phone her – and asked the witness why, if this was the case over 24 different occasions, no phone or text records could be found on Ms McGuire's phone. The witness replied that the NoW were indeed short of evidence for the story, and that was why they had not ran the story earlier, adding “If you had kept your mouth shut about the Anvar Khan story, the Fiona McGuire story would still be unpublished”.

Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that he didn't have a single shred  of evidence to corroborate  McGuire's story, and the witness agreed.

Mr Sheridan then quoted a conversation between Ms McGuire and Mr Wight on the eve of publication of her story, where Ms McGuire asked “What if Tommy Sheridan sues?”, to which Mr Wight had replied “We'll screw him.”. The witness accepted that this conversation occurred, but stated that “we believed the story to be substantially true. We took it on good faith” and that Ms McGuire “always maintained she was telling the truth”.

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he took pleasure in discussing sordid, perverted sexual detail with Fiona McGuire. The Advocate Depute objected that this was a personal attack on the witness and had no relevance to the charges, and this objection was sustained by Lord Bracadale.

Mr Sheridan again asked “Were you sleeping with Fiona McGuire?”, and the witness replied  “I take offense at that. No, I was not.” and then directed Mr Sheridan to a recording of a conversation between Ms McGuire and Mr Wight shortly before the 2006 trial where Ms McGuire says to Mr Wight “you don't know what I'm like in bed”.

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he recalled agreeing to take Ms McGuire out for an evening meal, which the witness agreed he did, but that “we have yet to have that meal”, going on to state that the story was only run because the accused had lied to voters about his reasons for stepping down as SSP leader. The witness than asked why he had been the first person Ms McGuire had phoned on the night of her overdose, and stated “We were the ones who looked after her, not you, not her party who had abandoned her”.

Mr Sheridan stated that the witness had been in contact with Ms McGuire since August 2004, she had signed a £20,000 contract but refused to make the phone call... then Lord Bracadale interrupted, stating that Mr Sheridan had already gone over this several times, and Mr Sheridan responded that his lordship's intervention was unfortunate as he was moving towards his conclusion. Mr Sheridan continued, stating that Mr Wight had taken advantage of a mentally fragile Ms McGuire and had paid her for an untrue story with no shred of evidence to corroborate it. Mr Sheridan also put it to the witness that Fiona McGuire had "welcomed my libel victory" to which the witness replied "quotes". Mr Sheridan said "she knew she had lied" adding that his wife, himself and Fiona McGuire had been "subjected to a perjury enquiry" to which Mr Wight replied "that was nothing to do with me". With that Mr Sheridan  returned to the dock, and the court rose for the day. 


Due to a holiday on Monday court will not reconvene until Tuesday morning


Whatsy

119 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that we all remember the images of TS being bundled into the "Daily Record car" at the conclusion of the defamation action and being driven off at speed. We all remember the subsequent "scab" articles that we splashed across the said Daily Record.

Anonymous said...

Can I risk the opinion that this did not seem to be a poor witness?

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff, Whatsy! Well done!

Anonymous said...

7:52pm - I would agree

Legally Challenged said...

Yet another witness testament that has changed since 2006.
Whilst I can accept that things can slip your mind

I think the sums mentioned would be good memory aid to most folk.
And if not surely being asked in 2006 were payments made would jog your memory.
The witness also stated we believed the story to be substantially true.
Was this Bob Bird again?

Anonymous said...

These NotW witnesses are just journalists for crying out loud. The way some people go on you'd think they were the Devil's spawn.

robbie said...

Fiona McQuire must be a real concern for the prosecution. It seems absolutely clear that the NOTW were delighted to sign a contract for her exclusive, without a care as to whether the story was truth or fiction. It certainly seems to provide evidence that the NOTW wanted to damage TS and were willing to pay big money to anyone willing to come forward. This trial is full of witnesse who have been paid by the NOTW who are now giving evidence against TS.

Reasonable doubt for a jury?

Anonymous said...

These NotW witnesses are just journalists for crying out loud. The way some people go on you'd think they were the Devil's spawn.

Just journalist is there such a thing?

Legally Challenged said...

So at the 2006 Libel Trial it would appear that Bob Bird Douglas Wight and the NotWs own Lawyer are not aware of or slipped from memory of payments being offered or accepted to certain people?
I would find it hard to believe that especially in the position of the NotW lawyer that they would go and defend themselves with such limited knowledge regarding payments.

Anonymous said...

The jury is being asked whether Sheridan lied about going to Cupids. I'd counsel against taking comfort from issues which do not answer that charge.

Sceptic said...

That is, with respect anon, a very narrow reading of the case. If Sheridan was not at Cupids, as the defence claim, why did a national newspaper print that did?

Sheridan is forced to put the News of the World on trial, otherwise how can he explain their stories about him, to prove he is telling the truth he has to show that they lied and why.

Anonymous said...

Sceptic. That's an argument for the defamation case. The news of the world is not relevant to the charge, which is that Tommy Sheridan went to Cupids then lied about it in court.

It is not the News of the World saying that, it is the crown.

Alex Prentice may well ask the jury "so what if the News of the World did this and that?" he will certainly say that, following a police investigation, the crown brought these charges based on evidence.

I am not prejudging the verdict, but it is delusional to think that attacking the NotW is going to work as a defence.

Douglas Wight seemed a perfectly capable witness and certainly raised uncomfortable matters about taking money from newspapers with Mr Sheridan.

Sceptic said...

"the crown brought these charges based on evidence"

Ah there's the nub, as they say. Who provided the evidence, who paid the witnesses. It is instructive that after a two year, two million pound police investigation the only new witnesses of note have been Mr and Mrs Cumberbirch, Gary Clarke and of course Mr McColl (of whom perhaps you would like to avoid speaking)

This is still, essentially, the same case devised by the News International legal team in 2006, minus Fiona McGuire of course. To argu that discrediting the News of the World is "not answering the charge" is, I would suggest, incorrect.

Anonymous said...

@ Specptic - I know that they appeared quite a long time ago, but what about Elizabeth Quinn, the couple in Aberdeen/Dundee and of the tape?

Anonymous said...

You are wrong, I'm afraid.

Each witness was interviewed by police and their statements passed to the PF. They were not simply "handed over" by the News of the World. That's not how the legal system works.

It's not for the Crown to find anything new in what witnesses have to say, either.

The result of the defamation case - and the reasons therein - has no bearing on the credibility of these witnesses. they are to be judged by the jury on the quality of the evidence they presented.

It's worth remembering that the Crown has brought forward a number of new witnesses, such as Gary Clark, Elizabeth Quinn, the Cumberbirches, Paul Sinclair, Dr Nicholas McKerrell, and sundry others as reported on in this blog.

I am simply saying that it's not wise to celebrate - either way.

Anonymous said...

No-one should be breaking out the champers just yet - a lot of commenters are in the same mood as Neil Kinnock in the 1992 general election campaign with his "presidential style celebrations" before the results were even in - an look what happened: Thatcher trounced him.

Anonymous said...

It's not over until the fat lady sings.

Anonymous said...

And we must also remember that Alex Prentice will ask the jury: "Do you think this long recording, full of detail, which sounds like Tommy Sheridan admitting that he confessed to the EC is a) Tommy Sheridan admitting that he confessed to the EC, or, b)A fraudulent work, scripted by two of Sheridan's former friends, using information gleaned in covert operations by the News of the World, featuring an actor, employed for his uncanny ability to impersonate Tommy Sheridan and his astonishing performance skills, which see him perform a 45 minute scene, before the removal of a section where the "actor" stands up and looks at the camera, "by mistake"?


He will ask something like that. It's impossible to realistically imagine how that question will be answered if you believe, or want, either answer to be correct.

am no tellin youse said...

And remember all the SSP witnesses at the original trial were investigated and interviewed by the Lothian and Borders Police as well as the Solidarity witnesses.

Simple Samantha said...

Anon 10:06 It's (b) ?

Simple Samantha said...

or (c)?

Anonymous said...

Sheridan did well yesterday, foccussing on the fact thet the NotW had nothing to back the mcguire story was a good tactic, finally managing to get to this conclusion of that part of his cross- "The witness replied that the NoW were indeed short of evidence for the story, and that was why they had not ran the story earlier, adding “If you had kept your mouth shut about the Anvar Khan story, the Fiona McGuire story would still be unpublished”.

That coupled with the changing of his evidence from 2006 re payments and the fact that Wight has been seen to be taping people without their knowledge, I would think that his has been good for the overall picture the defence want to create.

At this stage of any trial - the end of the prosecution - we should all be convinced of his guilt. I would say that it looks like Sheridan has held his own in the away leg.

Anyone know when the defence starts, was it supposed to next wednesday?

Tommy Trial addict said...

“If you had kept your mouth shut about the Anvar Khan story, the Fiona McGuire story would still be unpublished”.

I predict the trial will not come down to facts but to who is seen as the least guilty out of all the various players involve.

This equation may well exclude the Crown. It could become NOTW v Sheridan again and we all know how that one went the last time.

Anonymous said...

Is it not strange that there is an appearance of a dublication of tactics from some of the groupings involved in this trial coupled with memory slips and or changes of perspective.
Group one running to the media with an avadavit if you challenge us.
Another group admitting IOM if you challenge us Ie. Anvar Khan we will print what we want and screw you if you wish to protest.

Anonymous said...

It will only be Notw V Sheridan if the Jury ignore Prentice and the judge.

Anonymous said...

@ Tommy Trial addict, in my opinion it is apparent that turning this trial into another TS v NotW ding-dong match, to the exclusion of minor inconveniences... like facts appears to be TS's strategy, hence we see the introduction of completely revealing (at least it appears so) evidence regarding Fiona McGuire.

Anonymous said...

that should be "completely irrelevant" lol

Denizen said...

Mr Wight. Book editor? Expert on crime fiction? I didn't know the NOW did critical reviews of books. Oh yes! There's that splendid review of 'Pretty Wild'. Wow! I thought that that poor paper was just about knockers and knackers!

Denizen said...

Good witness?
He would be wouldn't he? He discussed the case with Bob Bird for an hour. He says he didn't discuss evidence or how to give it. Oh he says a lot of things. Good witness?

Denhizen said...

So we have it from the mouth of the 'good witness' Private detectives are a resource that 'newspapers use in general. I see that the head of the Press Complaints Commision has just apologised to a lawyer for saying that he lied when he said the police gave him information about 6000 people having their phone hacked. Yes indeedy!

Denizen said...

'The good witness' says that private detectives were used by '305 journalists'? Names and publications please.

tingtong said...

I dont agree tommy. I think it could follow the same pattern as the last time and see the NotW evidence being a mess that wont hold up, with the trial coming down to the SSP meetings and confession, like the libel trial did.

Les Dawson said...

Notw? Oo-er, matron... knickers, knackers, knockers... :-)

Denizen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Reporters said...

@ Denizen, ALL newspapers, not just the NotW, have been "sub-contracting" work (dirt-digging, background checks, etc.) to private detective agencies since the beginning of time.

Denizen said...

Good witness?

Wight says that there was 'only one day she was cooperating fully.' That would be the only day out of 30? 40? when she was being uncooperative. And on this day how did she cooperate? She refused to phone Tommy Sheridan.
Here Wight tries to imply the phone was given to an expert but he can't remember what was said. Is this what you invent when you are shown to be an idiot?

Denizen said...

good witness?

If Tommy takes them to court Wight says 'We'll screw him' My admiration for Tommy falls far short of wanting to screw him and I suspect the same is true for the ever loquacious Wight. If you say 'we'll screw him'in the tone of voice that gangsters are wont to adopt it can be frightening to a third party. I have no doubt it was meant to frighten Fiona McGuire.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Doleman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sorry to have to pull you up, Denizen, but Fiona McGuire has nothing to do with the allegations libelled against the Sheridans in the Indictment, it's about as relevant as alleging that TS's great-grandparents were NotW readers. Did the Sheridans commit Perjury under Oath at the 2006 Defamation Action - let's stay focused, please!

James Doleman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denizen said...

When Wight is questioned about cash payments and is found to have 'misled' the jury in the original trial, he comes up with a series of excuses' 1) It was his own lawyer who asked the question so he was only misleading him and not the court. 2) Tommy Sheridan has a terrible advantage over him in knowing what he (Wight) said in court in 2006!!???. I am also sure that he said something to the effect that it was the terminology of the question/situation that confused him. Can anyone verify that he did say this. It is not in my notes! Help would be appreciated.

Denizen said...

Good witness'?
No evidence that Sheridan bedded McGuire. But Khan's story (forced to tell under duress of money and blackmail) validates the McGuire story for which there is no evidence.

Good witness?
McGuire tries to escape her tormentor. Wight tells her 'Believe me if we want you we can find you.' Threat or what? Do the say that to everyone they want to frighten?

Good witness?
This is a man who shadows Fiona McGuire for three months and is pretty much in her company for three weeks. How come?
Well he says that he stopped her going to New Zealand by intercepting her at Luton. Uh? How did he know? Was it the husband that betrayed her? How come he then takes her back to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Peterhead; hawks her around various psychiatric specialists (till he gets the answers he wants presumably)

Good witness?
He takes her to her GP in Peterhead. The GP comes out to his car (is this a special service offered by GPs in Peterhead due to the inclement weather that might inconvenience NOW reporters?). The GP puts HIM in charge of her medication. The GP tells the NOW reporter that MS McGuire must do her civic duty by going to court. (No wonder the poor woman is demented!). Amid all this how come he is given the medication? This would rarely be done for a close family member - there would have to be suspicion that she was suicidal (she would be by this time). What role is Wight playing in this?

(edited by JD)

Denizen said...

Anon,
They did not commit perjury under oath that is not what they are charged with. But that is a quibble.

More important is the fact that it shows the culture at the NOW. If they perverted the course of justice once they can pervert it again. Just to show I can hand out insults too,
I take it you are an avid reader of this puerile rag. Congratulations

Anonymous said...

Denizen, you should go back and read the Indictment - carefully; it's a good reference and guide that will keep you on track as to the points that the Crown are trying tp prove. A finding of guilt on ONE count of ANY charge on the Indictment in respect of TS and GS is enough to convict either of Perjury. Compare this with the Defamation Action whereby a finding that one of stories published by the NotW was false was sufficient to hand victory to TS.

Anonymous said...

Denizen, OK then have it your way - "falsely depone" it is.

Anonymous said...

Even MPs that are exposed by a newspaper for fiddling their expenses or whatever don't drag the ethics of the newspaper that exposed them into their defence. Can't recall Archer, Aitken et al railing against the Guardian? or whatever publication that exposed them.

Legally Challenged said...

Hello legal eagles can anyone explain what perjury is?
To my limited understanding it is being untruthful in statements made in court whilst under oath.

Yet as this blog has revealed, that more than one witness has changed their perspective of what was said under oath from 2006 till present.

It would appear to me that some of the witness statements now being presented such as cash payments that were previously denied, would in my opinion constitute if not an admittance of perjury an admittance of witholding pertinant information asked for whilst in court.
Are charges of perjury a selective implement of justice or is it a charge that could be laid to all who have lied or misled whilst under oath?

Campbell McGregor said...

Going back a bit on this thread, Pamela Tucker was not mentioned as a new witness whose evidence if true is pretty damning, and is not associated with the SSP or NOW.

Anonymous said...

Anon November 28, 2010 2:02 PM

Not all situations are identical, for example MP. Epenses which were factual and fabricated or unsubstaniated stories appearing in a paper.

Iam sure that if someone were to rubish your good name you would do what you could to amend that situation.

Anonymous said...

@ Legally challenged, Perjury is the act of falsely declaring to tell the truth (i.e "I promise to tell the truth..."; but that's not what the Sheridans are charged with it falsely deposing (making false statements under oath) and in the case of TS additionally suborning a witness (inciting another to commit a crime) in this case to make a false deposition/commit perjury.

Anonymous said...

Legally challenged, it's a lot more specific the allegations being made against the Sheridans than a witness "changing their testimony" for one reason or other; the Sheridans are accused of DELIBERATELY LYING by making STATEMENTS which they KNEW to be UNTRUE after being sworn in as witnesses in the Defamation Action. You are comparing apples and oranges.

Legally Challenged said...

Anon November 28, 2010 3:23 PM

(making false statements under oath)
Again I have to ask does this apply to all who fit the above catagory

Anonymous said...

Legally Challenged, it's DELIBERATELY and KNOWINGLY making false statements under Oath; you would have to build a case, and therein lies the difficulty.

Anonymous said...

Pre-meditated lies if you like.

Anonymous said...

To prove a charge in Law you need to establish both the actus reas (guilty act) and mens reas (guilty mind).

Legally Challenged said...

Thank you Anon November 28, 2010 3:48 PM

There would appear that the issue of actus reas and mens reas, to some have already been established.

nonny mouse said...

anon 3.31 that remains to be seen, those who have changed their evidence will probably be looked at again. As soon as it has become known that their statements under oath were false, the police will look at there reasons for this.

Peter said...

Campbell McGregor said...

Going back a bit on this thread, Pamela Tucker was not mentioned as a new witness whose evidence if true is pretty damning, and is not associated with the SSP or NOW.

November 28, 2010 2:14 PM

Good one Campbell - still laughing about Ms Tucker's evidence now.

If you are being serious please advise us which parts of her evidence you thought were even close to being logical and credible.

I admit if what she says is true it is damning but ....anyway you say what bits you think might be credible and we can take it from there.

Jamesie Cotter Esq. said...

If the jury accept the evidence proves that Tommy was at Cupids in Manchester surely he'll struggle to show he didn't knowingly tell the High Court he wasn't there. The matter was not just dealt with 'in passing' with him as a witness: the denial shaped and built his defamation case before he ever got near the witness box.

Certainly, he's had his time in the sun as a cross-examiner. But will he step up to the mark by subjecting himself to a similar ordeal? We will soon know as and when the defence case opens because he'll be the first witness.

Any bets on how long his evidence in chief will last? A week? Bet you are looking forward to transcribing that! To say nothing about the prospect of Tommy re-examining himself!

Anonymous said...

yeah, it will be quite amusing to watch ts asking himself a question from the lectern then trotting back to the witness box to answer it.

Sceptic said...

In fact what would happen is that he would make a statement then allow be cross-examined. I don't really see the point of the defence doing that to be honest as TS gets to make a summing up anyway.

Anonymous said...

TS should employ the services of an "actor" to take his place in the witness box during the cross-examination of himself, it would save TS a lot of legwork. It would also cast a reasonable doubt on the Crown case.

Legally Challenged said...

Anonymous said...
Legally challenged, it's a lot more specific the allegations being made against the Sheridans than a witness "changing their testimony" for one reason or other; the Sheridans are accused of DELIBERATELY LYING by making STATEMENTS which they KNEW to be UNTRUE after being sworn in as witnesses in the Defamation Action. You are comparing apples and oranges.
Anon
No I dont believe that Iam comparing apples and organges.
However Iam comparing statements made under oath in 2006 and 2010.
Also if the number of witnesses of which there has been a few, who have altered recall over this time frame,could be considered as misleading, by not revealing fully when asked under oath/Affirming. Be truthful or reliable witnesses it was my understanding that this trial came about after the public statement by the Libel trial judge.
It should also be noted that the defence information such witness statements,NotW costs etc.were all in the hands of the police investigators, charged with finding out who allegedly lied.
Does your explanation only apply to some
DELIBERATELY LYING by making STATEMENTS which they KNEW to be UNTRUE after being sworn in

Archbishop Jamesie Cotter said...

Do you think Tommy knows the difference between a closing speech and another opportunity to address the masses?

Anonymous said...

In a trial where the accused is represented his/her QC can call the Accused as a witness; the Crown would then exam the Accused (followed by a cross-exam) by the Defence (to draw out points in the Accused favour). Of course the Accused has the right not to give evidence although if they do not, the jury may draw a "reasonable inference". And, in my opinion, the one witness that the Jury want to see on the stand is the accused; how they respond to the allegations made against them can be make or break testimony. Depending on how you look at it being un-represented could be advantageous to an Accused person. Also, GS is still represented.

Anonymous said...

In circumstances where an unrepresented Accused hasn't subjected themselves to a cross-examination by the Crown all the Prosecution could really do was say something like: "there remains many unanswered questions" and draw the Jury's attention to points made in evidence of which the Court has received no explanation from the Accused.

Anonymous said...

way too much legal chit-chat on here. the lawyers should set up their own blog, and let everyone else concentrate on what really matters - the future of a young family.

Anonymous said...

TS began his his speech in the Defamation Action by telling the Jury that: "I am on trial for my life", going on to say: They endangered my wife, they endangered my child and - you know what - they endangered Fiona McGuire as well. They couldn't care less because the bottom line is selling newspapers"

Anonymous said...

TS also told the Jury: "The allegations in the course of this case have been as numerous as grains of sand in the Sahara Desert. But evidence, but real tangible, substantial evidence, has been conspicuous by its absence."

Anonymous said...

In my opinion TS won't give evidence unless he has a VERY good reason for Cupid's number being in his Diary - AP would nail him to the floor on a point like this. It would be far better just to let these *minor points of detail* point melt into the ether and concentrate on more *general issues*. Although, in my opinion if an Accused had a 100% water-tight and convincing explanation for allegations being made against them they would be itching to take the stand and give their side of the story, in my opinion.

Snowy day said...

So on Tuesday the Prosecution staggers to a close. And what a set of witnesses we have heard - many ranting; making speeches;not recalling; not remembering; changing evidence from previous statements ; launching into personal remarks; changing dates .......!!!I came to this trial out of general interest - not as someone who personally knew Tommy or Gail Sheridan, nor as a member of the SSP or Solidarity ; nor as a member of the press or legal profession - just as an ordinary member of the public. And I have been horrified by both the standard of evidence ( and lack of recall !)and by the reporting of much of the press, who with its selective reporting of evidence and its clear omissions has served the general public badly in the reporting of this trial. Why is the press allowed to do this ? A rhetorical question,don`t bother replying, I already know the answer !
Then there was Friday. How could Mr.Wight be considered a good witness ? This is a man who mislea the jury in the last trial, (oh but that was just an `unclear answer` was it? Not a lie just ` a mistake?; a man who stated Fiona McGuire had done a bunk in a previous statement but didn`t think so now ?
We have a tape that no specialist has so far been brought in to validate.

Thank you very much for this blog , Mr. Doleman and to Whatsy for her/ his contributions. This is the way trials SHOULD be reported ,in the interests of justice. I am constantly telling other members of the public to read it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MacBeth said...

Snowy Day doesth protest too much.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Neutral Member of the Public said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Squalidarity Sid said...

The slogan, exhausted

must-now-be-repeated..

The slogan...

Anonymous said...

James at what point are post deleted?
Iam sure that I read some posts following on from snowyday.
This is not a question on judgement more of a technical question as I own a temprmental computer with mild dementia.

James Doleman said...

I did remove some comments anon, I check them now and again so there is no set pattern.

Avid Reader said...

Many thanks for the blog.

Does anyone have a note of the total number of prosecution witnesses, and how many of them have given evidence in this trial that differs from their evidence at the defamation case or from their police statements?

Many thanks for the blog.

.

Stan said...

Can I just make a general comment? The reporting here has been absolutely excellent and informative, as was much of the discussion early on.

Unfortunately there are now far too many people using the site for pathetic pops at each other and each side, whilst adding precisely nothing to any understanding of what's going on and polluting the discussion that does take place.

Is it too much to ask for you to take it somewhere else if all you've got is vitriol and a smart one-liner?

The Lumpen Sociologist said...

This is quite a pleasant site compared to the vitriol on other sites.

James Doleman said...

I'd say the vitriol level is lower here, we do get the odd comment that is over the line but in general the reason comments get deleted is not nastiness but an inadvertent potential breach of contempt of court rules.

James Doleman said...

Talk about speaking too soon The Lumpen Sociologist, since I posted that I've had nothing but horrible, nasty abusive comments coming in.

All stored though, will make an interesting postscript to the trial.

James Doleman said...

P.S to the anon who just posted about "defamation" you will have your very own chapter in my postscript, including the threats against my family, that has not been forgotten.

Anyway enough of that, back to the case.

Legally Blind said...

James,
I have found this blog and your and Whatsy's account of the trial excellent. I'm sorry to hear, however, about the abusive comments directed at you - anonymous of course. I think the rest of the participants of this blog are pretty disgusted by it too.

Legally Challenged said...

Sorry to hear that James and yes it would be good for others to know what has been said,without reference to family issues.
Will await postscript in the meantime carry on your with your execellent reporting.

Anonymous said...

wiv grassed yi tae thi dole doelamn thir watchng u gonna stap ur jiro

Anonymous said...

n send yi tae jaik fur benifit frauid

Rolo Tomasi said...

James - very disappointed to hear you have been getting abuse from some dickhead. Most cowardly, don't let it get to you mate - there's always some feeble eejit will enjoy the cloak of anonymity to indulge in some cyber bullying. Keep up the good work, it's a great forum for keeping up with the trial, as well as exchanging views of course.

James Doleman said...

Thanks everyone, if we could leave that subject though I'd be grateful, lets not give a few idiots the attention they crave.

former ssp said...

i take it the trial was snowed off today?

Anonymous said...

11.06. court holiday today

Anonymous said...

Snow show then lol

St Andrew said...

Is that an early St Andrews's day Holiday - what about tomorrow (St Andrews's Day)?

former ssp said...

does this mean that the crown case is over? i was assuming that they would at least have someone in to try and verify the tapes.

the interesting points are the video, the diary entry, gary clarke, and the other witnesses who arent being paid off or arent part of the SSP

at this stage i would think, regardless of my own views on the case, the crown case hasn't really been cinvincing enough, although that's not to say that the jury will think that

Peter said...

former ssp said...

does this mean that the crown case is over? i was assuming that they would at least have someone in to try and verify the tapes.


Hi former SSP:

The Video again!

Look it's simples. If the Crown could show the tape was genuine you must know they would be all over it like a rash you could pick up at Cupids.

a) It's very possible it is not actually Tommy pictured in the video.

b) It's very possible it was not produced in 2004 as McNeilage says it was but in 2006.

c) It is also very possible that the original tape demonstrated the (a) and (b). Hence it was necessary for it to be altered by McNeilage/NOTW - see evidence regarding numerous deletions made to the "original" tape.

So engaging your critical faculties you may see that is why the Crown have not presented any forensic evidence about the tape.

TBC:

Peter said...

TAPE CONTINUED:
Certainly the Crown have not: provided forensic evidence about the date it was produced; nor explained forensically the numerous deletions; nor have they provided voice experts to demonstrate if it is Tommy’s voice on the sound track.

Leaks pre-trial indicated the police/Crown could do this and that they had all sorts of forensic and technical evidence - not just about this tape.

As such evidence has not appeared at all it was most likely a bit of bluff by the Crown to try and force a confession from the accused. Fail!

So all we have is Bob Bird, McNeilage saying it is genuine recording.

Oh of course we have Colin Fox saying in his opinion it is Sheridan on the tape. Oh dear – none are independent and none are experts.

For the defence (and to many observers) it's also really all a bit too suspicious that the video is so murky that Sheridan cannot be identified.

If it was Tommy on the tape surely McNeilage once he realised it was very poor footage would have filmed him another time from a different angle and in a less murky place.

TBC.

Peter said...

Tape Conclusion:

Other questions?

If it was made in 2004, as McNeilage says it was, how do you explain why if Tommy and McNeilage had not fallen out in 2004 McNeilage would seek to trap him like this in 2004?

Why would McNeilage betray Sheridan in 2004 when the major fallout did not occur until May 2006 and during and immediately after the libel trial?

Surely in 2004 he would simply ask him first straight up before secretly filming him?

Following on from that when the secret filming takes place is it not too convenient that script of the tape carefully matches the evidence from the 2006 libel trial?

Bit odd that is the tape was made in 2004 as Mcneilage states.

The tape was most likely concocted in 2006.

McNeilage signed a contract with the NOTW guaranteeing the tape was genuine in return for a huge fee. According to the defence he has £250,000.00 reasons to lie.

Also the defence have a number of witnesses who testified in the libel trial that Sheridan did not make any confession in 2004 so why would he allegedly make a confession to McNeilage regretting such a confession?

I appreciate the Crown consider the SSP members are lying to save Sheridan but why?

Should they be any less believed than the SSP witnesses (United Left) who say he did make a confession.

Both sides face the same sanction for perjury and risk to family and careers etc.

It does not add up.

With so many questions about the tape the lack of forensics kills the tape as a piece of evidence.

Even the dogs in the park round by mine know the tape is a pile of ....

Anonymous said...

Peter, it's actually quite conclusive in my opinion at this stage. But for obvious reasons can't I really see, it's like a jig-saw, you have to grab all the pieces to form the picture otherwise a critical element could be contained within your missing piece, the knowledge of which, would turn your opinion on it's head. Although you may find it hard to believe some of us are only interested in discovering the truth, no matter what way the verdict goes which in itself is hampered be certain restrictions - it will be a verdict reached at within the laws of evidence . As far as I am concerned, I have 100% solved this case, you may be right Peter, you may be wrong, but I'm not saying.

Steve said...

On the tape

Relevant factual questions might be: how easy is it to identify the recorded voice of someone you know? How easy is it to be mistaken?

There are regional "accents" and on top of that personal mattes of tone, pitch, other personal vocal qualities and vocabulary, but in addition to what science can do, there is the human ability to discern things.

Does anyone know of any research on how reliable that is?

Mike said...

"The lack of forensics kills the tape as a piece of evidence".

Seriously?

The tape seems geinuine enough, and the timing of it is backed up by the phone verified phone conversations on the day McNeilage says it was produced.

The "lack of forensics" simply means that the tape stands in its own right as a (pretty convincing, IMO) piece of evidence.

If the defence can undermine that, I'm sure they will.

But you can't seriously argue that the Crown has to produce "forensics" to confirm the tape is legit.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that it would be possible to produce an "expert" who would say: "it is impossible to say with 100% certainty that a voice heard on a tape is a particular person". In the same way it would be possible to find an "expert" who would say: "it is impossible to say with 100% certainty that the Moon is not made of cheese". Reasonable doubt? Something for the jury to decide.

Jamesie Cotter Esq., Govan said...

In the absence of a successful application to exclude the tape; the jury are surely entitled to hear it (again in the jury room if necessary) and compare the voice with their recollections of TS's voice, as delightful as that may be over many hours and days of cross-examination.
All this enthralling advocacy - and possibly cogent evidence - will no doubt given more than a wee approximation of the tone, range, tenor, accent and quirks (if any) of Sheridan's advocacy, utterances and evidence (if any).
The jury can compare and contrast the tape, just in the way they could compare a photograph or video of the accused with his appearance in the dock, at the lectern and, possibly, even in the witness box.

Bunc said...

Personal - publish at your own discretion.

James - I read above that you have been getting nasty comments - I'm very sorry to hear that - it's uncalled for as you have been doing a great job in bringing us detail not available elsewhere.

Whatever peoples views about TS and this case ( you'll have gathered that I tend to the view that he's guilty) there is no call for you to have nasty comments made against you.
Keep up the good work.
Bunc

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Bunc, this is an excellent blog. Once the Sheridan Trial is over maybe James can report on another interesting Trial.

Anonymous said...

Jamsie Cotter Esq, the Jury are entitled to request that "Productions" are taken into the Jury room, and I suspect that they will want to give the tape a good listen over.

Anonymous said...

If I was TS and it WAS me on the tape (not saying it is, that is for the jury to decide) but I would have been straight of to elocution/voice training lessons and would now be speaking with a Cockney accent.

Peter said...

Ok guys so lets get this straight the Crown had forensics but they decided not to present them - why?

Or they did not do any forensics - again why?

They did not present voice analysis - why?


By the way the phone calls to Sheridan from McNeilage on the day the tape was allegedly made do not demonstrate the tape was made on that day or eent that year!

So what is going on with this tape. Remember the Daily Mirror were fooled by the state to divert attention from the prisoner abuse by mocked up photos and videos. Lost Piers Morgan his job.

Don't let your dislike of Sheridan to get in the way of the problems with this tape as a piece of evidence. Be more credulous.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough Peter, let us see if TS produces a concrete defence to the allegations that have been made against him. Not guff, in my opinion, about "endangering" this and that. Does anyone like ANY of the characters in this play? In my opinion, a great big parcel o' rogues, birds of a feather flock together and all that.

Anonymous said...

Peter, the Jury can take that tape into the jury room, play it and examine it to their hearts contents, they will see a lot more of the tape than mostly anyone else.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people remember what happened last time around at the conclusion of libel trial. TS being whisked of by the Daily Record (for no payment (according to TS)) and the "SCAB" story! Yes, the "SCAB" story!

Anonymous said...

It was actually reported on the mainstream media that TS had "reportedly" received £30,000 from the Daily Record. The sight of someone who has struck an "exclusive deal" being whisked off is a common sight on our TV screens, so why would someone who had received no payment allow such a (false) impression to form?

Anonymous said...

Peter,

It's quite funny that, for all your attempts at legalise and your rather purple flourishes of rhetoric, you don't know what credulous means.

Unless you really are suggesting people should be more gullible?

Anonymous said...

That's funny that, Anon. I was wondering that too - be more stupid! I took it to mean: suspend your disbelief, open you mind to more outlandish and crazy possibilities. You are part of a Derren Brown guided mind control program.

Anonymous said...

Anon November 30, 2010 5:30 PM



And the "SCAB" story! Yes, the "SCAB" story!

Time heals all but sometime scabs remain or turn into scars that do not fade.

Anonymous said...

The main thing about the tape that stands in favour of the defence is the missing minutes, the prosecution do not dispute that this was taped over deliberately to prevent some of the conversation being heard or pictures being seen.

That's the weak point and the point that gives the defence an opportunity for doubt. In many countries, for instance USA, this fact would be enough to rule the tape inadmissable as evidence.

I have an idea as to why the prosecution didnt bring speech recognition evidence from an expert. I wont say until after the trial but there is a pretty good legal point that some may have noticed. It's nothing sinister, just a legal point.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:55 With you on the "legal point".

anon655 said...

anon 7.16, i am thinking about where they might have drawn their comparison from. are you with me? the answer might originate in turkey