Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Morning Update

This morning the court has heard from three witnesses, Kenneth Lang, a Glasgow solicitor who acts for the News of the World, Paul Sinclair a journalist who was political editor of the Scottish Daily Record on 2004 and Keith Baldessera an SSP member and a former close colleague of Tommy Sheridan.

Mr Lang was questioned closely about his actions in producing documents for the trial, his contacts with Crown witnesses Katrine Trolle and Fiona McGuire and the costs of putting up witnesses Anne Colvin and Helen Allison in an Edinburgh hotel during the 2006 trial.

Mr Sinclair has told the court about a conversation he had with Mr Sheridan in Edinburgh in November 2004, in which Mr Sheridan alledgedly told the journalist there was no "plot against him"

Mr Baldessera is still testifying, however he has already told the court that he believes Mr Sheridan made admissions of sexual misconduct to him before the 9th November SSP executive meeting and at that meeting.

Full report to follow.


Anonymous said...

I have just come across this blog, and its fabulous! Keep up the good work! Its great to get an indepth account as it has been my feeling that the media coverage is sliightly biased, as I believe it was during the last trial and hence why the civil verdict seemed so out of synch with the reporting.

Peter said...

Steve Said: November 19th 2010 12.38pm

"The 10 commandments are pretty basic to most secular systems of law and I can think of three that have come into this case."


Is "ass coveting" one of the three Steve? Guilty your honour.

I am more of a fan of the Bard than the Bible these days Steve - it has more believable charactersisation.

Hamlet Act Scene IV

He waxes desperate with imagination.

Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.

Heaven will direct it.

Nay, let's follow him.

Whether Denmark is noted for her " unweeded garden" of "things rank and gross in nature" is perhaps best not discussed on a family blog.

These things are matters of personal taste, sexual aesthetic and hygiene of course but I wouldn't go there though (not Denmark).

Peter said...

Anonymous said...November 19, 2010 12:40 PM

"fao peter - g mcneilage wasn't a member of the UL".


A fair point Anon - I agree with you that most people have least one redeeming feature.

To avoid future error maybe someone in the know on this blog can circulate the minutes of the UL meetings? We can then check the UL membership against the list of Crown witnesses.

Can't find the minutes? Have a good look in your bag - it's funny what you can overlook.

Ta. Peter.

(NB. Anon. Why not pick a user name and put it in the Name/URL field otherwise you may appear to be a troll. Heh come to think of it Troll is a good blog name - you can have that one for free mate or pay me after these proceedings are over).

Anonymous said...

Baldassara did not say he "believed" Sheridan had made these admissions. He said he had made them.

Steve said...

You are in luck then Peter, as we've met a former resident of Elsinor and a few alleged (or perhaps allegedly alleged) witches, though from Glasgow rather than "on a heath near Forres".

Although the jury are the masters on such matters of fact.

But enough flippancy, there's a lot at stake after all...

Anne On said...

Would like to ask any budding solicitors a question. T. S. is openly accusing people of perjury. As Nick McKerrill stated yesterday this is not only a defamation of a persons character but also a 'professional slur' which could conceievably undermine a person's career. If Sheridan is found guilty could these people then take out a defamation action against him?

Anne On said...

One point i cant understand is Tommy had already steped down as party leader due to 'family reasons'. So why would the supposed cabal of SSP conspirators be trying to in his words 'do him in' in 2006. It makes no sense ?

James Doleman said...

Hello Anne, evidence given in court is "privileged" and cannot be the subject of any libel action, much like speeches in parliament.

justaglasgowguy said...

@Anne On Why continue two years after the event? i think it was a number of reasons- partly because TS had won his case within the SSP and had been re-elected as joint convenor, but also (and since we are in a literary mode) as Macbeth said after murdering Duncan

" I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er"

Or as Magnus Magnussson said "I've started so I'll finish"

the_voice_of_reason said...

And of course, it's the answer, not the question, that forms the evidence.

All the accused is doing is putting his defence to the witness, at a stage where he retains the presumption of innocence.

Peter said...

STEVE 4.04pm: I may occassionally appear to play the fool - although to be fair I have also referred the blog to various items of case law and relevant legislation and codes of practice on the payment of witnesses and other matters.

If I do appear frivolous you will appreciate I hope the historic role of the fool in exposing the hypocrisy in the acts of the powerful. No ?

Greed, career advancement, the protection of others, jealousy, rivalry, family disputes, base foul treachery. Reference to the Bard shows such conduct has a long history. Some people cannot bring themselves to see it here. They prefer to see any failure to be simply that of the young King. That may explain why the Tellie Tubbies are so popular with some adults.

ANN ON 4.07pm: A number of posters here just cannot bring themselves to consider that various Crown witnesses who are professional people would risk much to lie in court. (I am not talking here of the obvious chancers and grotesques)

Applying some "intellectual rigour" to that question I do appreciate that there must be some strength in that.

But we surely we must apply the same principle to the Defence witnesses. Why would they lie and risk much any more than the Crowns?.

That is one of the many reasons many people, with a greater leagl insight than me cautioned the Crown not to proceed with a perjury prosecution.

In the clear absence so far of a "smoking gun" it simply one group of witnesses word against the other.

The trashing of each others witnesses is as James says is the inevitable consequence of this action.

The problem the Crown has more than the defence is that many of its witnesses are not as "fragrant" as they may have wished.

Many have been exposed as having been paid by the NOTW at some point and some according to the Defence and the testimony of Bob Bird may have lied about the extent of that contamination.

Put more plainly compared to the list of witnesses for the defence the distinction in quality of character is startling.

No one is alleging Tommy paid anyone. Alternatively the defence allege that many of the Crown witnesses would not be here if they had not been originally paid by the NOTW.

I go to Manchester/Salford (Mordor) a lot. If I had been approached by the Crown I could have warned them the types of Orcs they would be digging up after the NOTW had flashed its cash about the town. Frivolous or fair comment?

Panda Pie said...

justaglasgowguy Tommy hadn't been re-elected as a joint convenor in 2006. He started a campaign to be elected as Convenor at emergency conference but failed to get the support he thought he would or didn't give himself time to get the support and within a month of winning his case he had split from the SSP.

He had been elected Co-Chair in March 2006 with Morag Balfour.

According to the SSP constitution minutes from official groups in the SSP have to produce minutes for th membership however platforms don't.

Give it up... said...

The huge vote for Sheridan as co-chair unnerved some of the party and that led to the formation of the 'february 2006 network' which became the UL.

There was talk of sheridan challenging for convenor and a rush of branches came out declaring support for him or Fox, but most of sheridans supporters were already talking about leaving the party so that bid didnt even go through never mind get to a vote.

In May 2006 the UL were comprehensivley beaten by the broader membership who voted to give Sheridan full support in his libel trial at a National Council(NC). That was the same NC where the elected delegates of the party decided that disciplinary action should be taken against the author of the herald affidavit and anyone who knew who it was and had concealed the identity.

Steve said...

Peter, sorry, I wasn't intending to have a go and take some of your points. My daily experience is that there's a lot of ordinary life that doesn't and couldn't operate like a Shakespearian court, but I guess I'll just follow the factual inquiry for now and try to keep an open mind.

Bunc said...

Not being steeped in all this far left politics re the SSP and solidarity could someone explain something?
TS supposedly steps down fr "family " reasons but then after that seeks re-election ? Is that what happened? Could someone spell out the sequence and timescale of this - not sure I'm understanding what happened. I'm not asking for the he said she said - just the bare facts.

Peter said...


Very good point but that is a very difficult one!

From what I know I am not sure the "facts" are undisputed.

If it can be attempted by an SSP member / ex-SSP member it would be useful to have some baseline events and dates - with more detail than are in the press chronologies and SSP publications.

But maybe the full "facts" are not in the record if you see what I mean.

For example it appears the United Left faction / Crown witnesses did not record its own membership or decisions in minutes (apparently).

If we had such United Left minutes / membership lists then it would be helpfult to establish the facts.

If they had been useful for the Crown prosecution we would have seen them by now but that would be speculation.

A Rural Socialist said...

The United Left were a group who used the internet via e mails to communicate so there a no formal minutes meetings or records to my knowledge.
They basicly trawled the membership list via e mail seeking support.
The Majority of SSP witness appear on this mailing list and many more besides, it should also be noted that all on the mailing list subscribed to this group.
In my opinion this instigated or certainly helped the divisions within the SSP.

Whatsy said...

@Bunc - "TS supposedly steps down fr "family " reasons but then after that seeks re-election ? Is that what happened? Could someone spell out the sequence and timescale of this"

then Peter -
"Very good point but that is a very difficult one!

From what I know I am not sure the "facts" are undisputed.

I'm not aware of there being any dispute on the "facts" of this from what I've seen and read of this case, and don't see the relevance of your questions and insinuations about UL members.

I hesitate to ask it, but you'd need to elaborate for this to make any sense to me.

Ryan said...

The facts in this are not disputed, the agreed press line was put out by both Sheridan and the SSP.

It was the later events, over the next year or two, that would didvide the party and lead to Sheridan seeking re-election.

4 months after his resignation he was campaigning for Fox to be leader and celebrating his victory.

It was at the time of the defamation case in summer 2006 that the differences became clearer.

The UL was short term and was specifically to do with the court case. There was political rhetoric added to their "platform" but it started shortly before the trial and ended after the party had split. It was essentially just a list of those who were willing to declare their opposition to Sheridan's actions.